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XTbe IRegtons of tbe WorR> 



Ubc IReoions of tbe MorlD 

Editbd iw H. J. MACKINDER 


By H. J. MACKINDER, M.A., Student of Christ 
Church, Oxford, Reader in Geography in 
the University of Oxford, Director of the 
London School of Economics and Political 


By Joseph Partsch, Ph.D., Professor of Geo- 
graphy in the University of Breslau. 


By D. G. Hogarth, M.A., Fellow of Magdalen 
College, Oxford, late Director of the British 
School at Athens. 


By Professor Israel Russell, of the University 
of Michigan. 


By Colonel Sir Thomas Holdich, K.C. M. G., 
K.C.I. E., C.B., R.E., late Deputy Super- 
intendent, Survey of India. 


By Archibald Little. [In the press 


Oxford University Press Warehouse 

Amen Corner, E.C. 





K.C.M.G., K.C.I. E., C.B., R.E. 


With Maps and Diagrams 

bi't> ^ 










DEC \ 2 WW 



When, at the request of Mr. Mackinder, I undertook to 
write this little book, I was carefully warned against 
statistics and details. Indian statistics have, indeed, been 
dealt with so ably, and have been presented to the public 
in such attractive form by the late Sir W. W. Hunter in 
his " Imperial Gazetteer of India," that for more exact 
statistical details and figures than those contained in 
this brief volume the reader is referred to that great 

I have, accordingly, relied chiefly on descriptive 
methods of treating the infinite variety of the geographi- 
cal configuration and the geographical distributions of 
India ; and where my opportunities for personal observa- 
tion have failed, I have had free recourse to the works 
of such well-known authorities as Sir W. W. Hunter, 
Sir John Strachey, Sir Alfred Lyall, Sir Lepel Griffin, 
Sir George Birdwood, General Woodthorpe, Sir James 
Scott, Professor Ball, Mr. Oldham (of the Indian Geo- 
logical Survey), and others, all of whom write of Indian 
subjects with the refreshing vigour of intimate personal 

The maps have the authority of the Survey of India 
to support them. The spelling of place names is the 
spelling authorised by the Indian Government, which, 
partly arbitrary and partly systematic, has been found to 
answer fairly well. The system (where any system at all 
has been adopted) is closely allied to that of the Royal 
Geographical Society. 

T. H. H. 




I. Early India ....... 

II. The Geography of the Frontier : Baluchistan 

III. The Geography of the Frontier : Afghanistan 

IV. Kashmir and the Himalayas 
V. The Geography of the Indian Peninsula 

VI. Assam, Burma, and Ceylon 
VII. The People of India 
VIII. Political Geography 
IX. Agriculture and Revenue 
X. Railways .... 
XI. Minerals .... 
XII. Climate .... 









I. Bathy- 

orographical Sketch 


II. India. 

North-west Section 

To face page 29 

ill. India. 

Southern Section 


iv. India. 

North-east Section 


V. India. 

Ethnographical . 


vi. India. 



VII. India. 

Surface Features 


viii. India. 

Geological . 




i. The Indo-Gangetic Plain 

2. Probable Land Area at close of Jurassic Times . 

3. Indian Empire, River Basins ..... 

4. Routes of Alexander and his Forces .... 

5. Chief Ancient and Mediaeval Trade Routes to China and 

6. The Indus Valley according to Ibn Haukel 

7. The North- West Borderland 

8. North-West Frontier .... 

9. Inland River Basins .... 

10. The Route from Quetta to Seistan 

1 1. The Trans-Indus Inland Basins . 

12. The Boundaries of Baluchistan . 

13. The Frontier Hydrography Radiating from 

14. The Plain of Quetta .... 

15. The Orography of Makran . 

16. The Extension of the Hindu Kush from the Himalayas 

17. Boundaries of Afghanistan 












1 8. The Oxus Basin 

19. The Russian Position North of Afghanistan 

20. The Orography of the Hindu Kush . 

21. The Sources of the Oxus .... 

22. Routes on the Northern Frontier 

23. Mediaeval Routes from Peshawur to Kabul 

24. The Khaibar Route to Kabul 

25. Peshawur to Kohat ..... 

26. The Frontier Railways .... 

27. Routes from Kabul over the Hindu Kush . 

28. Relative Positions of the three Chief Cities of Afghanistan 

29. The Route from Herat to Kandahar . 

30. The Valley of the Hari Rud 

31. Northern Frontier — Tribal Distribution 

32. Routes in Kashmir .... 

33. The Bend of the Indus 

34. The Tibetan Plateau .... 

35. The Sources of the Indus, Ganges, and Brahmaputra 

36. The Sources of the Indus, Sutlej, Gh&gra, and Brahmaputra 
yj. Comparative Elevations, British, Alpine, Himalayan 

38. The Alps and the Himalayas on the same Scale 

39. High Stations of the Himalayas 

40. Indus River Basin 

41. Indus Delta showing Ancient Channels of the Indus 

42. The Rivers of the Punjab .... 

43. The Upper Gangetic Basin 

44. Northern India Railway Communication . 

45. The Lower Brahmaputra and Gangetic Delta 

46. The Deltaic Channels of the Ganges 

47. Central India Orography 

48. The Narbada-Tapti Basin 

49. The Godavari Basin . 

50. The Godavari Delta . 

51. The Coromandel Coast 

52. Malabar Coast ; Western Gh£ts 

53. The Uplands of Mysore 

54. The Satpuras and Western Ghdts 

55. The Bend of the Brahmaputra . 



56. Delta of the Ira wadi . 

57. Upper Basin of the Irawadi 

58. Lower Basin of the Irawadi 

59. Between Burma and China 

60. Ceylon .... 

61. Colombo Harbour 

62. Religions .... 

63. Buddhist Centres and Modern Railways 

64. Race Distribution 

65. Race Distribution 

66. Race Distribution, Upper India 

67. Race Distribution, Lower India 

68. Race Distribution 

69. Upper India 

70. Lower India 

71. Indian Empire, Political 

72. Density of Population 

73. Madras Presidency 

74. Area of Native States 

75. Native States, Southern India 

76. Native States, Central India 

77. Native States, Northern India 

78. Wheat .... 

79. Rice 

80. Cotton .... 

81. Chart of Irrigation by Canal 

82. Soil 

83. Soil 

84. Centres of Art Industries . 

85. Railways .... 

86. Karachi Harbour 

87. Karachi Port 

88. Sind-Peshin Railway . 

89. North-West Frontier — Railways 

90. East Indian Railway . 

91. Railways 

92. Railways 

93. The Position of Calcutta 






94. Indian Peninsula ....... 

95. The Port of Madras 

96. The Port of Bombay 

97. North-Western Railway System .... 

98. Burma Railways 

99. Geological Panorama from the Kaisargarh, by Major 

Griesbach, C.I.E 

100. Coal Distribution 

10 1. Salt — Main Areas 

102. Gold . 

103. Climate 

104. Climate 

105. Rainfall 

106. Rainfall 

C. L. 






p. i, I. 7, for 231,000,000 read 294,000,000 

Holdich's bidia 





Statistics. — British India and Burma together occupy 905,000 square miles 
of the Continent of Asia, and the native states and dependencies of India 
absorb 611,000 more. This is exclusive of Baluchistan (130,000 square 
miles), which is, in fact, as much a dependency of British India as any 
native state within the frontier. The total population of this area amounted 
to 287 millions of souls by the census of 1891, showing a net increase of 
27^ millions during the preceding decade. In 1901 the total had increased 
to 231,000,000. This equals about 15 per cent, of the entire population of 
the world. 

The commerce of India, represented by exports and imports, amounted in 
1899 to ;£ 1 24,850,000 and £95,499,000 respectively, the increase during the 
last sixty-five years of the century being fifteen-fold. 

The revenue of India in 1900 was £29,500,000 sterling, nearly three- 
fourths of which are derived from land. 

In no country in the world has geographical position 
relatively to surrounding continents and seas shaped the 
history and the destinies of a people more surely than in 
India. A land of promise, where Nature offers her gifts 
with lavish hand, and where the soil is peculiarly favour- 
able to the reproduction of mankind, yet forming a sort 
of geographical cul-de-sac with a few notable gateways 
leading thereto from the north, and no exit, except by sea, 
to the east, south, or west ; India has been from time im- 
memorial peopled by immigrants who have multiplied 
within her borders with such prodigious vitality that no 
recent wave of conquest sweeping through her historic 
gates has made any permanent impression, whilst each in 
turn has added something to her perplexing ethnography. 
No single name existed amongst the early settlers 



which would include all the various races of the country 
which is now known as India. One tribe, or clan, alone 
which passed into the peninsula from the north was suffi- 
ciently powerful to impress its name upon the north- 
western districts of the country, and its designation, 
Bharata, is the earliest appellation which can be recognised 
as being more than locally applicable to any part of those 
districts. The nations of the West, equally with those of 
the East, first knew India as the land of the Indus. To 
all tides of immigration, from whatever landward direction 
they were derived, the Indus was the first great barrier 
encountered as they passed through the narrow channels 
open to them in the mountains of the north-west, and 
spread into the plains of the Punjab or of Sind. The 
great river of the West, with its network of waterways and 
islands, was to them as the open sea, and thus the same 
Sanscrit word which they applied to the ocean itself served 
to designate the mighty barrier which was set between 
them and the plains of the South. So that Sindhus 
became gradually the recognised name for the districts 
watered by the Indus, and a variation in its form (Sind- 
havas) indicated the inhabitants of the valley. Other 
variations followed from the dialectic peculiarities of 
foreign nations. To the ancient Persians it was Hendu ; 
to the Greeks Indikos ; and finally Virgil calls the country 
India. In the far East the Chinese made use of the name 
Shin-ta and Hien Tau, but it is to the modern Persian 
that we owe the term Hindustan ; and the Imperial title, 
" Kaisar-i-Hind " of to-day confers on the King of England 
the titular sovereignty of a country which literally only 
embraces the Punjab and a part of the Gangetic basin, 
but is universally accepted as representing all India. 

The shape of India should be described as rhomboidal 
rather than triangular, with an acute apex pointing south- 
ward into the ocean. The length of the north-eastern 
side of the rhomboid, from the head of the Bay of Bengal 
to the extreme north-west of Kashmir along the mountain 
mass of the Himalaya, is about 1400 miles. From Kash- 
mir to Karachi, its north-western side is about 1 200 miles ; 


on the south-west, from Karachi to Cape Comorin, 1750 
miles of coast-line face the Arabian Sea ; and from Cape 
Comorin to the mouths of the Ganges are 1300 miles of 
seaboard washed by the Bay of Bengal. If we take about 
300 miles of the north-eastern face of the rhomboid 
extending upwards from the mouth of the Ganges, and 
base thereon an acute-angled triangle reaching 550 miles 
to the north-east, it will include the province of Assam ; 
and if again, on the south-eastern face of the latter, we 
extend another long attenuated triangle for some 1200 
miles southward and eastward till it narrows to a point 
about two degrees north of Cape Comorin, we shall 
roughly represent the extent of the Burmese provinces 
under British rule. 

It is a notable fact that one of the greatest of Greek 
geographers, Strabo, defines the shape of India as rhom- 
boidal, and he gives the following distances for the length 
of the sides respectively. From the sources of the Indus to 
the mouth of the Ganges, 16,000 stadia. From the mouth 
of the Ganges to Cape Comorin, 16,000. From Cape 
Comorin to the mouth of the Indus, 19,000. From the 
mouth of the Indus to its source in the mountains, 13,000. 
The Greek stadium was undoubtedly an elastic quantity, 
but the generally accepted length of it is 6o6f feet, or 
about .115 of a mile. These measurements preserve the 
general proportion of the sides of the figure fairly well, 
but they are all about 200 miles in excess of the actual 
lengths. It is a remarkable testimony to the accuracy of 
Greek research. 

Geographically, if not politically, the island of Ceylon 
must be regarded as a part of India. The latitude of its 
southern extremity is only six degrees north of the equator. 
The extreme north latitude of the north-western corner of 
Kashmir is thirty-seven degrees north, and the altitude of 
the land surface of India varies from flats a few inches above 
sea-level to peaks 28,000 feet above it. Thus every con- 
ceivable variety of climate, every condition of physical 
existence from the equatorial to the arctic, is to be found 
in India — and occasionally found in close juxtaposition. 


The total area of the Indian Empire approaches if million 
of square miles, and its total population is about 280 
millions of souls, considerably " more than double Gibbon's 
estimate of 120 millions for all the races and nations 
which obeyed Imperial Rome." 1 

The physiography of the country (regarded as a whole) 

Fig. i.— The Indo-Gaiwetic Plain. 

is not very complicated. To the north-east and north- 
west are vast elevations of land surface, from the foot of 
which the peninsula of India stretches away southwards 
in gradually ascending grades. Thus we have on the 
two northern sides of the rhomboid, to the north-east 
and to the north-west, elevated regions of plateau and 
table-land buttressed by mountain systems which form 

1 Hunter's " Imperial Gazetteer," vol. vi. 


the staircases between the plains and the plateau. On 
the north-east the huge upheaval of Tibet, rising to 16,000 
feet above sea-level, shuts off the rest of Asia with an 
impassable barrier of sterile and stony uplands, bordered 
Indiawards by a vast mountain region which comprises 
many complicated minor systems whose central peaks 
are the highest in the world. These are the Himalayas. 
From the eastern extremity of the central Tibetan up- 
heaval, mountain ranges curving southwards determine 
the initial direction of the rivers of China, Siam, Burma, 
and Assam, and round off the north-eastern borderland 
of India with a series of walls as impassable as the solid 
block of the Tibetan plateau. On the extreme north, 
abutting on the north-west of Kashmir, the Pamirs (well 
called the Roof of the World) flank the depression north 
of the Tibetan plateau westward, and mark the geogra- 
phical centre from which spring the Kuen Lun, hedging 
in Tibet to the north ; the Himalayas dividing Tibet from 
India ; the Thian-shan, which are but the south-western 
links in the central orographical axis of Asia which 
reaches north-east for 4600 miles to the Behring Straits ; 
and the Hindu Kush, with its subsidiary ranges, forming 
the north-western barrier of India. It is this north- 
western barrier which is geographically of such import- 
ance to India, and which demands the most careful 
consideration. Mountainous, difficult, rugged, and often 
dangerous, it yet, by reason of its inferior altitude, does 
not offer an obstacle of such impassability as is presented 
by the Pamirs of the north and the Himalayas of the 
north-east. It is across the north-west barrier that the 
flood of immigration or invasion has almost invariably 

Next in order to the region of mountains is the 
region of depression which lies at its south-eastern foot, 
curving northward across the breadth of the peninsula 
from the Bay of Bengal to the Arabian Sea, and in- 
cluding all the most fertile and densely populated districts 
of Hindustan. This is the great silt-formed land of 
India, the land of great rivers which flow through the 


Himalayas and the western mountains, bringing the soil of 
Tibet, of Afghanistan and Baluchistan to nourish the 
swarming populations of Bengal, the North-West Pro- 
vinces, the Punjab, and Sind. In this area of depression 
(never rising more than a few hundred feet above sea- 
level, and often only a few inches above) we must include 
Assam, the valley of the Brahmaputra, only noting here 
in anticipation of further detail, that all the three great 
river systems of India — the Indus, the Ganges, and the 
Brahmaputra — derive a part of their water-supply from 
sources which lie in the highlands beyond the Himalayas 
and the western mountains, and part from the countless 
valleys which lie hidden within the mountain folds. 

To the south of the area of depression succeeds the 
region of southern table-land, or peninsular area, which 
includes the Central Provinces, Bombay, Madras, Mysore, 
and several other minor states and provinces. This 
three-sided tract of territory, known to the ancients as 
the Dakshin (Deccan) or " south land," supports a popula- 
tion of about two-thirds the strength of the population 
of the depression, and is buttressed by the Vindhya 
mountains on the north, and by the Eastern and Western 
Ghats of the Bengal and Arabian sea coasts respectively ; 
the two latter running to an angle near Cape Comorin. 

Sweeping round the island of Ceylon and the Coro- 
mandel coast to the head of the Bay of Bengal, and 
then extending an arm southwards embracing the Anda- 
man and Nicobar Islands, and stretching very nearly 
to Sumatra, is the ioo fathom line of sea bottom, bound- 
ing a shoreward width of about fifty miles, with a fairly 
uniform contour at another fifty mile interval, which 
represents the 500 fathom limit. Opposite the mouth 
of the Ganges these intervals are very much extended by 
deltaic influence. Inland from the coast-line of Madras 
for a width of 50 to 100 miles, and reaching to the Gangetic 
delta, is a belt of shore formation of low elevation fringing 
the foot of the Eastern Ghats. The width of low foreshore 
on the western coast of India is very much less than this 
of the east, whilst the 100 fathom line reaches farther out 


to sea, and the 500 fathom line is far enough seaward to 
include the Laccadive Islands. Such, in brief outline, is 
the orographical configuration of the continent of India — 
and the story of its evolution may be learnt from the 
rocks of which it is composed. 

Measured by the vast ages of geological existence, the 
peninsular area of India (the region of southern table-land) 
is by far the oldest. On the north-western borders of 
this area, stretching across the plains of Rajputana, are the 
remnants of a very ancient range of mountains called the 
Aravalli. To the south of these mountains the peninsula 
of India, as we know it now, has been a land area since 
the close of the palaeozoic era. Across the extra peninsula 
regions to the north-west of the Aravalli hills the sea has 
repeatedly flowed even to the commencement of tertiary 
ages ; and between the two regions thus separated by the 
Aravallis there exists most striking differences both in 
structure and in conformation. The present shape of 
the peninsula-^ — itself but a remnant of a far more widely 
extended continent — has only been assumed since the 
occurrence of the vast series of earth movements which 
resulted in the creation of the region of depression — the 
alluvial basins of the Indus and of the Ganges. Over the 
substratum of granite and gneiss which forms the " bed- 
rock " of peninsular geologic structure, and eastward from 
the Aravallis, stretch the wide red sandstone deposits 
which are known as the Vindhyan system, and which (even 
when buried beneath the Deccan trap) preserve a generally 
horizontal position. Geologists maintain that these wide- 
spread unfossiliferous beds are but the detritus washed 
down from the peaks and valleys of the inconceivably 
ancient mountain range which is now represented by 
the comparatively low and degraded Aravallis. Almost 
coeval with the Aravallis (and possibly at one period con- 
nected with them) is the much broken and ragged forma- 
tion known as the " Eastern Ghats " overlooking the Bay 
of Bengal. So ancient is this eastern buttress of the 
peninsular table-land that since the close of the palaeozoic 
era the waters of the bay have never washed westward, 


and the coast of Madras was the eastern coast-line of that 
pre-Indian continent of which India is now the much- 
diminished representative. But whilst the Aravallis were 
clearly the north-western limit of this prehistoric continent, 
it is not quite so clear what formed the boundary on the 
north-east. There was no Gangetic basin in those days, 
and it was probable that the Rajmahal hills and the hills 
of Assam continued the land area to the Himalayas east 
of Sikkim ; for it is certain that the Eastern Himalayas 
are vastly older than the western, and that the Burmese 
........ mountains are compara- 

tively young. Next fol- 
lowed a long period of 
repose and of the silent 
process of alluvial depo- 
sit by river action, during 
which the wide central 
beds called Gondwana 
were formed. Here we 
must note the existence 
of ice-worn bouldersand 
the evidence of former 
glaciers in Rajputana ; 
and at this point we are 
faced with the almost in- 
disputable fact that the 
India of the Aravallis and of the Rajmahal hills was but an 
extension from South Africa. The evidence which has been 
collected to prove this ancient connection seems to be 
conclusive. Plants of Indian and African coal measures 
are identical, and not only plants, but the fauna of that 
period claim a similar affinity. Near the coast of South 
Africa a series of beds occur which is similar in all 
respects to an existing Rajmahal series ; whilst the dis- 
tribution of marine fossils proves that to the north-west 
and to the south-east respectively of a land barrier which 
must have included the Maldives, Laccadives and Mada- 
gascar, were two distinct seas. This land connection 
must have existed at the commencement of cretaceous 


jurassic times 

Fig. 2. 


times. There are no marine sedimentary beds in the 
Eastern Himalayas analogous to those of Burma, of the 
North-West Himalayas and of the mountains west of the 
Indus. These wide highlands, together with the great 
plateau of Tibet, were then under sea, subject (so far as 
we can tell) to no great earth movements in very early 
ages, but undergoing quiet and placid intervals of sub- 
sidence and upheaval, of alternate existence as open lacus- 
trine land surface or sea bottom. At the close of the 
Jurassic period not only were the North-Western Himalaya 
non-existent, but the very rocks of which the ranges to 
the west of the Indus are formed were still uncreated. 
Only the Aravalli peaks stood lonely and silent over- 
looking a vast north-western sea. Not till the close of 
the cretaceous period was India shaken by a series of 
eruptive cataclysms into something of its present shape. 
A succession of volcanic eruptions, exceeding in force 
and grandeur anything that the world has ever seen 
(except indeed it be in South America), covered 200,000 
square miles of India with lava and tuffs to a depth of 
thousands of feet. India must have been for a time one 
vast volcanic furnace. This was but the prelude to the 
mountain building. Then, at the commencement of the 
tertiary period, set in that long succession of earth move- 
ments which, culminating in intensity about the pliocene 
period, are still in perceptible activity. The sea was 
driven back ; rocks were crushed and forced upwards 
until marine limestones were upheaved to 20,000 feet 
above sea-level. Then were the sea-formed rocks of the 
trans-Indus hills ranged and folded and set in order. It 
was the period of the creation of our Indian frontier. 1 

Geologists have decided that the fossils of Burma 
and of the western frontier alike place the formation of 
these regions in the eocene, or latter part of the tertiary 
era. But the great bulk of the North-Western Himalayas 
must have been a formidable mountain barrier in times 
previous to the eocene period, and, moreover, even in 
those early times, the river systems of the Himalayas must 

1 Oldham, "Evolution of Indian Geography," vol. iii. {Journal, R.G.S.)- 


have been traced very much as they are at present. At 
the foot of the Himalayas there existed for geologic ages 
a long series of river deposits which have been compressed 
and upheaved in very recent times to form what is known 
as the Siwalik range, an entirely subsidiary and secondary 
range of hills which flanks the Himalayas on its southern 
face, forming an elevated longitudinal valley between 
itself and the foothills of the main system. In the 
neighbourhood of those rivers which issue from Himalayan 
valleys and cross the elevated valley and the bordering 
Siwalik hills there have been found beds of conglomerate 
which prove by their composition that rivers large and 
rapid, having their sources in the Himalayas or beyond, 
must have passed that way from time immemorial very 
near to their present channels ; and the evidence of the 
rocks connects the origin of these rivers with the pliocene 
period. Thus it seems probable that the North-West 
Himalayas existed as mountains of very considerable 
altitude in pliocene times. Another result of this suc- 
cession of earth movements was the formation of that 
great Indo-Gangetic depression which forms one of the 
natural geographical divisions of India. The break in 
the connection between the Rajmahal and the Assam 
hills which gave an opening for the eastward flow of the 
Ganges is comparatively recent. Originally the whole 
southern flank of the Himalayan system was drained by 
the Indus, and the diversion of the Jumna eastward into 
the Gangetic basin may be almost historic. Probably 
there was an interval, during which the Jumna either 
joined the Indus, or found a way south-west through 
some of the dry river channels still existing across the 
Rajputana desert. The present division of the two 
drainage systems, or water parting, is now marked in the 
Himalayas by a ridge on which stands the church at 
Simla. It is further probable that the same earth move- 
ments caused the submergence which separated India 
from Africa. By the end of the eocene period the west 
coast of India was formed, and the only existing evidence 
of that old-world connection is now to be seen in the 



islands of the Laccadive and Maldive groups. The 
Western Ghats, facing the Arabian Sea, are of quite recent 
formation, exhibiting some of the hydrographic phenomena 
which are 'common to mountains belonging to similar 
periods, with rivers cutting their way back from narrow 
and steep-sided valleys, and still changing their features 

Fig. 3. 

from day to day. From the Western Ghats all- the 
peninsular rivers of India run eastwards, with the ex- 
ception of the Narbada and Tapti. From the edge of 
the Tapti basin to the extreme south, the Western Ghats 
form the main water parting of the Indian continent. 

If from the story of the rocks we turn to the un- 
certain records of early Indian tradition, we find nothing 
to enlighten us as regards the physical conformation of 
the country, and little to illustrate the geographical dis- 


tribution of the races of men who first occupied the 
peninsula. Indian tradition indeed (such traditions as 
we find embodied in their great epics, the Ramayana 
and Mahabharata) tell obscurely of ancient conflicts be- 
tween northern races, aliens to the aboriginal non-Aryan 
peoples who occupied the southern plains, and there are 
dim visions of moving populations from High Asia ever 
sweeping into India from the north-west ; sufficient indi- 
cation that through all historic ages the land routes to 
India have been as they now are. The first authentic 
sea trade with the Indian coasts was that maintained by 
the fleets of Solomon and Hiram, whose ship captains 
" not only brought Indian apes, peacocks, and sandalwood 
to Palestine ; they also brought their Sanscrit names." x 
Our earliest exact knowledge of India is derived from the 
Greeks. The profound philosophy of the Brahmanical 
school which, in weaning men from the pomps and 
vanities of an evanescent world, weaned them also from 
trivial contemplation of the world itself, absolutely forbid 
such authentic records of the actual facts of human 
existence as might have been expected from a highly 
advanced Aryan community, and it is to the West that 
we must look for our first historical knowledge of the 
East. Hekataios of Miletus (549-486 B.C.) first distin- 
guishes India as a geographical entity, but it is Herodotus 
(450 B.C.) to whom we owe the earliest definition of the 
political divisions of the countries bordering India, although 
his eastern horizon was limited by the Indus. Herodotus 
has never yet received a full measure of acknowledgment 
for the general geographical accuracy of those compila- 
tions which define the position of the tribal communities 
of the remote Persian satrapies of his time. The same 
processes of geographical survey which have lately un- 
ravelled the hazy tangle of subsequent Arab geography, 
have proved that from the days of Herodotus to modern 
times a very large proportion of the tribes of Eastern 
Persia and of the wild districts intervening between Persia 
and Western India are to be found in the relative positions 

1 Hunter, p. 163. 



indicated by him under names that are sometimes 
identical, sometimes closely connected, with the original 
Greek. It is indeed hardly too much to say that five 
centuries before our era the political geography of the 
Khorasan and Makran was better known to the ancient 
Greeks than it was to English geographers of fifty years 




BOO Miles 

Fig. 4. 

ago. It was, however, the first scientifically conducted 
military expedition of the world — the invasion of India 
by Alexander the Great about 327 B.C. — that furnished 
for centuries all the data available for the construction 
of a map, or plan, which should indicate with the roughest 
degree of accuracy the physiography of India. Mountain 
ranges thenceforward began to shape themselves correctly, 
relatively to the valleys of the great rivers. The Helmund, 

i 4 INDIA 

the Indus, the Kabul, and two or three of the rivers of 
the Punjab assumed their right positions, and were traced 
to their correct conclusions. Although Alexander be- 
lieved that the Indus was identical with the Nile whilst 
he was yet engaged in military operations on its upper 
reaches, the subsequent exploration of that river to its 
mouth, and, above all, the admirably conducted voyage 
of his chief sea captain, Nearkhos, from the Indus to the 
head of the Persian Gulf, furnished the world with 
geographical records of sufficient accuracy to enable 
modern geographers not only to trace step by step the 
progress of the army and of the fleet back to Persia, but 
even to estimate the nature of those changes in riverain 
and coast topography which have taken place during the 
last twenty-two centuries. Alexander never penetrated 
into the southern peninsula area. He turned at the 
Beas (Hyphasis), a river of the Punjab, and thenceforward 
set his face westwards towards Persia, where he died. 
But he left behind him a troublesome heritage of Indian 
frontier which eventually fell to the administration of one 
of his generals, Seleukos Nikator, the founder of the 
Syrian monarchy. Then for the first time, a little light 
was thrown into the dark corners of peninsular geography 
by the ambassador Megasthenes, who was deputed to the 
court of the great king Chandra Gupta (the Sandrakottos 
of the Greeks) at Palimbothra (the modern Patna) on the 
Ganges. The Greek settlements in the Punjab and Kabul 
valleys were ceded to the Indian monarch about twenty- 
five years after Alexander's departure from India, but the 
Greek language is said to have held its own in those 
regions for more than seven hundred years subsequently — 
until, indeed, the Muhammadan conquests stamped it out 
of existence. Nevertheless the Greek adaptation of place 
names is even now to be found recognisable under 
modern dialectic forms about the regions where the 
Indus issues from the mountains. Until the time of 
Megasthenes but two classes of Indians were known to 
the Greeks — the mountaineers of the Caucasus, and the 
fish-eaters of Makran — sufficient indication of the very 


meagre extent of their geographical knowledge. The 
time of Megasthenes was the era of early rivalry be- 
tween the two great religious cults of India, Brahmanism 
and Buddhism, and the first indications of the great system 
of caste, the division of the peoples into social sects, was 
given to the Western world by this observant ambassador, 
who from the point of view maintained by a resident of 
" court and camp and capital," placed European know- 
ledge of Indian social geography on a definite and fairly 
accurate footing. 

So far we are only able to recognise with distinctness 
two great migrations across the western mountains into 
India, the early settlements of the Vedic tribes who gave 
the " race type " to Indian civilisation, and the short advent 
of the Greeks, who left the impress of their culture on 
Indian art for centuries after they had themselves disap- 
peared. But along with the recognisable Aryan advance 
there had been since the dawn of tradition a movement of 
the Turanian peoples of High Asia in the same direction 
and along the same lines. These Scythic movements 
finally culminated in the displacement of the Greek and 
the establishment of Turanian sovereignty in Northern 
India about the commencement of the Christian era, and 
from this date we almost lose sight of all such collateral 
information as may serve to establish points for maintain- 
ing a geographical conception of India. Until the rise of 
the Muhammadan power in the East we are dependent on 
the indefinite and often perplexing records of Chinese 
pilgrims who, in search of religious light, journeyed 
through the wildest and worst passes of the Himalayas 
after visiting the mediaeval Buddhist centres of High Asia 
(cities which once flourished where now are nothing but 
rolling waves of sand) to offer their devotions at the 
shrines of Gandhara, or to circle round the stupas of 
Sanchi or Benares. Recent geographical surveys carried 
across the Hindu Kush to Afghanistan and to the Chinese 
borders of Asiatic Russia, together with the marvellous 
results of researches made by Sven Hedin and other 
travellers in the deserts of Western China, have resulted 


in clearing up many of the geographical difficulties which 
lay in the way of a satisfactory translation of these Chinese 
records. The weary route pursued by the Buddhist devo- 
tees can now be traced almost step by step, but they end 
chiefly in the northern plains of the Punjab, and add little 
or nothing to our early geographical knowledge of penin- 
sular India. Possessing a knowledge of trans-Himalayan 
regions, we can follow the pilgrims ; but the record of the 
pilgrims hardly enlightens us on any more important point 
than the impracticable nature of the Northern Himalayan 
routes. It is true that the great Greek geographer 
Ptolemy had, long before the downfall of Greek ascend- 
ency, not only collected a great store of information con- 
sisting of place names covering a vast area of the known 
world, but had evolved the first practicable scheme for 
the construction of a map by the co-ordination of these 
places in latitude and longitude. Many maps of India 
illustrating the Ptolemaic scheme have been made and 
published within comparatively modern times, and they 
are of great interest and value as indications of the theo- 
retical knowledge which had been derived and collated from 
Greek adventure and exploration, which under one form 
or another had doubtless penetrated to the far East long 
before the days of Alexander. But little practical advan- 
tage is to be gained by the purely academic study of Indian 
geography in such early times, and it is to the hitherto 
but partially illustrated movements of Arab invaders, and 
of explorers from Western Asia, that we should now turn 
if we wish to appreciate the influence on the destinies of 
India which has been exercised by the geographical con- 
figuration of her western borderland. Practical geo- 
graphical exploration into India ceased for a time with 
one great military invasion — that of Alexander ; it re- 
opened with another — that of the Arab general, Muhammad 
Kasim, about ten centuries later. 

From the very beginning of civilisation, and the conse- 
quent demand for luxuries in Egypt, trade with India and 
the East has been the desire of Western nations. The 
command of it has raised them to pre-eminence ; the 


decline of it has marked the ebb of their greatness. And 
from the very beginning that trade has been in Semitic 
hands. When Israel was yet a consolidated nationality, 
the trade routes from India by the Persian Gulf and 
Euphrates, or by the Red Sea, and the time-worn track 
still followed by the pilgrims of Mecca, were well-known 
commercial channels. Egypt; Assyria, Babylon, Persia, 
Macedonia, and Rome made supreme and successful efforts 
to secure the command of them. Ptolemy Philadelphus 
was only deterred by fear of inundations from construct- 
ing the Suez Canal two centuries and a half before our 
era ; and by the first century A.D. Hippalus had dis- 
covered how to make use of the monsoon winds to cross 
the Arabian Sea; whilst Egyptian craft carried merchandise 
along the coast-lines, where scattered remnants of the 
ancient trade (chiefly debris of glass utensils and orna- 
ments) are to be found to this present day. With the 
decline of Rome in the sixth century A.D. the Saracen 
Arabs took the field, and Bagdad and Basra claimed pre- 
eminence as commercial centres. The Kalifs were greater 
than Solomon — more magnificent in their dispensations, 
more splendid in the display of their wealth. 

But whilst the sea routes undoubtedly formed the 
chief commercial connection between East and West for 
more centuries than we can count, the land routes also 
were constantly traversed, and they shared with the Red 
Sea and the Persian Gulf the position of main arteries 
of commercial intercourse in the hands of the Arabs, 
until Turk and Moghul finally blocked the way about 
the beginning of the fifteenth century A.D. Of these land 
routes much has been written and said about those which 
connected Northern India with the Oxus, and then striking 
into the great trans-Asian line of the silk trade from China, 
reached Europe either by way of the Caspian or Black 
Sea. All High Asia is traversed by a network of ancient 
Arab routes, and many are the indications of the past 
wealth and magnificence of the mediaeval cities of the 
Oxus basin that were traced by the Russo - Afghan 
Boundary Commission in 1883-85. But not much has 




been said about the direct land route between Western 
India and Bagdad which passed through Makran and 
traversed the length of Central Persia, the possession of 
which, far more than the desire to punish a band of 
Karak (Karachi) pirates, was the probable objective of the 
Arab advance into Sind in the eighth century of our era. 



RecENTLAND Formation 

Fig. 5. 

The Muhammadan conquest of Sind, and the estab- 
lishment of Mussulman dynasties in India, was almost 
coincident with the general disappearance of Buddhism 
from the land of its birth, although Buddhist provinces 
still maintained a failing struggle for existence on the 
western borders in the days when the great traveller, 
Ibn Haukel, constructed the first intelligible map of the 
Baluchistan districts between India and Eastern Persia 
(A.D. 943-976). 


JFrontur, of Kvrfiuui* SyuUm 

Fig. 6. — The Indus Valley according to Ibn Haukel. 


From the scattered records of this period of Muham- 
madan occupation we gain a new conception of the 
geographical position of India relatively to the West, which 
has been strengthened by recent surveys and explorations 
in the intermediate countries. The Muhammadan advance 
is the one prominent instance of the successful invasion 
of India by a land force which did not pass through 
the narrow portals of the north-western mountains. It 
exhibits the facility with which India may be approached 
from the Persian border, provided only that the invader 
has command of the sea ; for it must be remembered that 
this first advance of the Muhammadan on India was sup- 
ported by a naval contingent ; and it opens up an entirely 
new vista of mediaeval geography, enabling us to collate 
the evidence of a series of Arab writers (some of whom 
were actual explorers who wrote of what they themselves 
had seen) intelligently and readily. 

Thus, with ever-shifting local expansion and contrac- 
tion, the general political boundaries of the Indian frontier 
and the land and sea connection between Northern India 
and Europe remained almost unchanged for four or five 
centuries. During this time a continued stream of com- 
merce poured to and fro through the now desert wastes of 
Makran, and across the great table-land of Persia to 
Bagdad and the farther west, until at length the Crusaders 
first broke the power of the Saracen, and then the Turk 
and Moghul swarmed into Western Asia and for a time 
shouldered both Crusader and Indian commerce into 
the sea. 

This indeed (about the middle of the fifteenth century) 
was the commencement of the great international race of 
the western powers for command of the Eastern Ocean. 
For century after century a full knowledge of the com- 
mercial geography of the farther east had been the heritage 
of the Arab. Arabia was first mistress of the seas, and to 
Arabia we owe not only the early lines of our first ocean 
sailing ships, but many of our modern nautical terms as 
well. The complete history of the extraordinary diffusion 
of Arab influence — Himyaritic, Sabaean, or Muhammadan 


— throughout the world, and its enduring effect in shaping 
the early beginnings of modern civilisation has yet to be 

Previously to the capture of Constantinople by the 
Turks in 1453 the eastern trade by the Black Sea route 
(which had formed the chief wealth of the Byzantine 
Empire) had been largely developed by Venetian mer- 
chants who settled at Constantinople after its capture 
by the Crusaders in 1204. For fifty years Venice retained 
possession of the Black Sea trade, and was queen of the 
Mediterranean Sea. The Genoese supplanted the Vene- 
tians about the middle of the thirteenth century, and held 
their own until the advent of the Turk; but both Venetian 
and Genoese influence is still perceptible in the Persian 
and Makran coast districts (Venetian gold coins were the 
only recognised gold currency of Makran until quite 
recently), and it certainly appears probable that the 
Perso-Makran route was at least as important in its time 
as that of the Black Sea or any of the more northern 
highways. For a time the truculent Turk only barely 
held his own against the Arab navigator, and both were 
still sea powers to be reckoned with, when the discovery 
of the Cape route to India by Vasco da Gama in 1497 
opened an entirely new chapter in the history of Indian 
commercial geography. 

The subsequent story of Portuguese ascendency, the 
marvellous rapidity of its development until it culmi- 
nated in the absolute command of oriental trade from 
Japan to the Cape of Good Hope, lasting through the 
whole of the sixteenth century ; and its equally rapid 
decline and final disappearance before the persistent 
advance of the Dutch, belongs to the pages of history 
rather than of geography, and is only of purely geo- 
graphical interest by reason of the glimpses which it 
affords us of the distribution of political power in India 
whilst it lasted. 

When the Portuguese first arrived in India, Delhi and 
the whole of Bengal were under the sway of the Afghan. 
The Deccan was divided into the five Muhammadan king- 


doms of Ahmadnagar, Bijapur, Elichpur, Golconda, and 
Bidar, whilst the most powerful monarch in all India was 
the Hindu rajah of Vijayanagar, who reigned paramount 
over the southern provinces. 

In 1683 Portuguese power was at dead low tide, the 
Mahrattas advanced to the very gates of Goa — the Portu- 
guese capital — and the " further history of the Portuguese 
in India is a miserable chronicle of pride, poverty, and 
sounding titles." 1 

All that remains to them now are Goa, Daman, and 
Diu on the west coast, with an area of about 2350 square 
miles and less than half a million population. 

During the seventeenth century the Dutch were the 
foremost power on the high seas. In 1651 they founded 
a colony at the Cape of Good Hope, and in 1658 they 
had wrested the last stronghold from the Portuguese in 
Ceylon. Just one century later Clive broke their power 
finally at Chinsurah, and at the present time there is not 
a Dutch settlement on the mainland of India. In the 
census of 1881 but seventy-nine Dutchmen were enu- 
merated throughout the country. 

Next followed the French and English ; and modern 
history recounts the further process of building up the 
Indian Empire until it finally took shape as we now find 
it, and as we shall now attempt to describe it. The India 
of to-day is not the India of the ancients; it is not the 
India of mediaeval Arab history ; it is not the India of 
Portuguese and Dutch ascendency which was limited to 
a narrow fringe of country washed by the sea and repre- 
sented by scattered commercial u factories." India must 
be accepted as the whole area of Southern Asia over which 
British political influence now extends, whether strictly 
within the limits of the red line of " British " India or 
beyond it. As a geographical expression it cannot be 
dissociated from the frontier which binds it, or from the 
wide border mountain lands of the west and north-west, 
wherein are to be found the gates of it. No geographical 
description of the peninsula of India would be complete 

1 Hunter, " Imperial Gazetteer," vol. vi. 


without reference to the strange wild hinterland which 
has exercised such a profound influence on its destinies 
through all past ages. 

A comprehensive and up-to-date compilation of existing records of 
Early Indian geography is very much wanted. M'Crindle's excellent 
series of translations from classical authors (especially his " Periplus of 
the Erythraean Sea" and his "Ancient India as described by Megas- 
thenes and Arrian ") are most useful books for reference. In Elliott's 
"History of India" (first chapter) exists a valuable comparison of all 
existing evidence derived from the accounts of the mediaeval Arab geo- 
graphers. From that source has been taken the illustration of Ibn 
Haukel's map of Sind and Makr£n. The works of Yule, Smith, and 
Cunningham are, of course, standard references for all time, but there 
has been a great deal of recent geographical evidence lately col- 
lected by members of the Indian Survey department which has yet 
to be published. For geological history I am chiefly indebted to 
the paper by R. D. Oldham, which is to be found in the third volume 
of the Geographical Journal for 1894 — perhaps the best contribu- 
tion to the history of Indian geological evolution that can be found 
in a small compass. Another useful authority on the subject of the 
ancient geographical conformation of the Indus delta is Major-General 
M. R. Haig, whose " Indus Delta Country " explains many doubtful 
points besetting the histories of Alexander and Nearkhos. Maps of 
Early India which thoroughly illustrate the geography of the country 
in mediaeval times when India first began to attract the attention of 
western commercial enterprise are not to be found. The Ptolemaic 
conceptions of India are interesting, but hardly instructive. Smith's 
Ancient Atlas is still our best authority, but it requires considerable 
revision to bring it up to modern requirements. 



Statistics. — Baluchistan is a state feudatory to India, lying between 25 and 32° 
N. lat., and between 6i° and 70 E. long. It is about 550 miles in length, 
with an average breadth of 450 miles. Area about 130,000 square miles, 
population about 500,000. 

The province of Baluchistan includes: (1) Independent Baluchistan ; (2) 
Quetta and the Bolan administered by the British Government ; (3) British 

The chief towns are Kalat, Quetta, Kozdar, Bela, Kalatak, Bagh, Gan- 
dava, and Dadar. The leading chief is the Khan of Kalat, Mir Mahmud 
Khan, who succeeded his father in 1893. 

The treaty of 1876, effected between Sir R. Sandeman and the chiefs of 
Baluchistan, renewed the treaty of 1854, which established an alliance offen- 
sive and defensive ; and it recognised the status of the Sirdars or minor 
chiefs, making the British Government arbitrator in disputes between them 
and the Khan. British troops were then located in the Khan's territory ; 
Quetta was built, telegraphs and railways were commenced, and a subsidy 
of Rs. 100,000 per annum granted to the Khan. 

British Baluchistan was incorporated with British India by a resolution 
of November 1, 1887, and divided into two districts: (1) Quetta- Peshin ; 
(2) Tal-Chotiali, and the political agents of these districts became Deputy- 
Commissioners with a regular staff. 

The Khan's revenue includes Rs. 100,000 per annum subsidy from the 
Indian Government ; Rs.25,000 quit-rent from the Quetta district, and a 
share in the agricultural produce of Independent Baluchistan, which in a 
good year may equal Rs.500,000. 

The agricultural produce of the country generally is small, but is largely 
increasing in Peshin and Zhob. The rainfall is scanty. Baluchistan is 
largely a grazing country — chiefly sheep and camels. 

The chief exports are wool, hides, madder, dried fruit, tobacco, and dates. 

The value of the trade is roughly as follows : — 

Imports. Exports. 

In 1899 Las Bela Rx.60,800 Rx.26,500 

,, Kalat Rx.70,000 Rx.50,500 

Rx. = 10 Rupees. 

FOR purposes of description it will be convenient to 
recognise the accepted definition supplied by the map 
or atlas sheet, and to adhere to the geographical boun- 


daries shown therein. Thus, by the Indian peninsula 
we mean that continent which is bounded by the Bay 
of Bengal and the Indian Ocean on the east and west 
respectively, and which lies south of the Himalaya 
mountains, including both the region of depression and 
the southern table-land within the limits of the red line 
which denotes British India. This red line includes the 
Punjab on the north-west, the boundaries of which are 
generally those which we inherited by right of conquest 
from the Sikhs, but which have been considerably 
modified by our occupation of various posts on the main 
lines of routes connecting India with trans-frontier 
countries. To the north of the Punjab we exclude 
Kashmir (which is a tl native " state), but we include the 
hill districts of Kumaon (which are part of the North- 
west Provinces), and thence carry the boundary of 
British India eastwards, south of Nipal, Bhutan, and other 
independent hill states, till we touch the extreme north- 
east corner of the province of Assam. Here the Indian 
frontier, as generally recognised, takes an abrupt bend 
to the south, and thenceforward runs with a south- 
westerly trend to the Bay of Bengal, parting British 
India from British Burma. For all political and ad- 
ministrative purposes Burma has become an integral 
part of the Indian empire, but it is geographically dis- 
sociated from the peninsula of India, and it will be 
convenient to regard it as distinct. There is not really 
more actual distinction in topographical or ethnographical 
characteristics between Burma and Southern India than 
there is between Southern India and the North-West, 
but Burma and South India are divided by a great 
natural barrier of mountain and sea such as nowhere 
divides the provinces of the Indian peninsula, and Burma 
may well remain apart for purposes of geographical 

But the political and commercial interests of the 
India of the future, no less than the history of the India 
of the past, are so intimately associated with these trans- 
frontier countries which extend along her northern border, 


from the Arabian Sea to the Bay of Bengal, that this 
borderland is not to be separated from any general 
consideration of Indian geography. National interest, 
indeed, from day to day centres more and more on the 
northern borders of India, and is drawn farther and 
farther from the historical India of Clive and Hastings — 
the India of England's beginnings in the race for 
Empire ; so that it may be well to commence with a 
general geographical description of those border countries 
across which lie the routes to India from the west and 

All the great highroads of the past, the overland 
trade routes of the days ere Vasco da Gama rounded the 
Cape, found their entrance to India within comparatively 
narrow limits. From the Arabian sea-coast at Karachi 
to the Kabul River is a direct distance, roughly, of 700 
miles. This represents about one-fifth of the total length 
of the northern frontiers of India, if we exclude Burma ; 
and it is remarkable that England, who herself boasts 
a frontier impregnable to the march of hostile armies, 
should have acquired empire over a region so vast and, 
at the same time, so difficult of land approach as India. 
There is no historical record, no tradition even worthy 
of attention, which points to the violation of the frontier 
of India at any point beyond these 700 miles of rugged 
and difficult hills extending between Karachi and the 
Kabul River basin. Between these limits every tide of 
foreign immigration, every horde of Mongols or Turks, 
every Asiatic contribution to the mixed nationalities of 
the Indian empire has found its way at one time or 
another ; insomuch that there is hardly a living soul 
in the plains of the peninsula (apart from the purely 
aboriginal tribes, and the comparatively few whose 
progenitors arrived by sea) who cannot claim descent 
from one or other of the former great nationalities of 
Asia who passed into India by these north-western gates. 
Greeks, Assyrians, Medes, Chaldeans and Persians, Skyths, 
Turks, Tartars and Mongols all came that way ; and 
some of them have continued to pass long since Arabs, 


Portuguese, Dutch, and English formed a straighter line of 
advance over the open seas. 

Leaving for the present the fascinating subject of 
ethnographical developments in India, we will note very 
briefly the geographical substratum on which the modern 
trans-frontier states of India are founded before proceed- 
ing to topographical definitions. 

In not very remote times all the outlying kingdoms 
and provinces of the north-western trans-frontier of India 
were Persian territory, and were included under the one 
provincial designation Khorasan. Khorasan is the name 
which, to this day, is applied by Afghan and Pathan to the 
modern kingdom of Afghanistan and to all the border 
mountain lands which lie between Afghanistan and India. 
Khorasan still possesses a narrow geographical existence, 
but it has shrunk into the limits of a small province on 
the extreme east of Persia, of which Mashad is the capital. 
The Khorasan of Persian empire, which has contributed 
an indestructible Persian element to the population of 
these border countries, included not only a great section 
of Eastern Persia and nearly all of Baluchistan, Afghanis- 
tan, and Kashmir (as we know them now), but the Indus 
provinces of the Punjab and Sind as well. As late as the 
thirteenth century Persian garrisons held the Peshawur 
valley, where they were found by the Conqueror Chenghis 
Khan. This ancient Persian element has almost dis- 
appeared from the population of the Punjab and Sind, 
but it is to be readily found throughout the rest of 
ancient Khorasan. In Baluchistan it is represented by 
the lowest class of agriculturists. The ancient lords of 
the soil are now little better than the household slaves 
of the mixed community of conquering races who have 
flooded the country since the days of the Arab occupa- 
tion. Throughout Northern Afghanistan the same original 
Persian stock exists — as the tiller of the soil in the western 
districts, but in the east in much more dominant form. 
The Tajak population of the turbulent districts to the 
north of Kabul, the people who occupy the plains that 
wind along the foot of the Paghman mountains south 


of Charikar and west of Kafiristan, and who were amongst 
our most formidable opponents during the Afghan war of 
1879, are of Persian extraction, largely admixed (as their 
name denotes) with Arab blood. Persian-speaking com- 
munities (such as the Kizzilbashes of Kabul) are scattered 
still throughout Northern Afghanistan, and Persian is 
spoken by the educated classes amongst the conquering 
races of Afghans and Ghilzais, whose domestic tongue is 

On to this Persian element, which exists in fading 
evidence of the vast extent embraced by the ancient 
Persian empire, are grafted all those other foreign races 
who have taken their turn and played their parts in the 
troubled history of the Indian trans-frontier. The pro- 
vince of Khorasan only shrunk to its present dimensions 
in comparatively recent times. In the middle of the 
eighteenth century the great bandit king of Persia (Nadir 
Shah) still held all Baluchistan, Afghanistan, Sind, the 
Punjab, and Kashmir under his undivided authority. 
The Khorasan province was still intact. It was only after 
his death that the Durani empire was carved out of 
Khorasan by the Afghan adventurer Ahmad Shah ; and 
it was not till the beginning of the present century, when 
the Durani empire (which extended as far east as Lahore) 
fell to pieces in its turn from want of capacity amongst 
its rulers and of the stability which is only born of 
developed internal resources, that Baluchistan shaped 
itself into a federation of powerful independent tribes 
recognising the supremacy of the Kambarani Khan of 
Kalat ; and that Afghanistan was moulded into the sem- 
blance of an independent kingdom by the strong hand of 
Dost Mahomed, the Barakzai Afghan. 

The boundaries of Baluchistan and Afghanistan alike 
have been constant themes of irritation and discussion 
between the government of India and her border neigh- 
bours (Russian, Persian, Afghan, and Baluch) for the last 
half century, and it is only quite recently (within the last 
few years) that territorial limits have been definitely set 
to them. It is within those limits that we shall describe 



the geographical characteristics of these countries and 
note the chief highways to India which intersect them. 

Baluchistan is bounded on the south by the Arabian 
Sea, and on the west by the frontier Persian provinces of 
Kirman and Khorasan. The boundary is definitely fixed 
by international commission, and it is not necessary to 
follow it in much detail. It leaves the Arabian sea-coast 
near the little fishing-port of Gwatar (not Gwadar, which 
is some fifty miles to the east of it), between the Chil 
and the Dasht rivers, and runs north-east through the 
hilly wilderness of western 
Makran to the Mashkhel 
River. Leaving the small 
and comparatively insig- 
nificant (but much dis- 
cussed) province of Kohuk 
to Persia, it starts again 
from the Mashkhel (very 
close to its junction with 
the Rakshan, one of the 
chief rivers of Southern 
Baluchistan), and runs 
north-west, first touching 
the Hamun, or swamp, 
which receives the Mash- 
khel - Rakshan drainage, 
and then, following a well- 
defined line of strong natural features to the north- 
west, it joins the Afghan and Persian boundaries on 
the historical peak of Malik Siah Koh. The trij unction 
of the three kingdoms might be called the apotheosis 
of desolation ; it overlooks a vast extent of sandy waste 
and rugged hills from a height of 5000 or 6000 feet 
above sea-level. To the north are the wide flats of 
Southern Seistan — plains that once were green with the 
irrigated crops which won for Seistan the title of the 
" granary of Asia," but which are now a barren and 
deserted wilderness. Not thirty miles to the east is the 
salt-white swamp of Gaod-i-Zirreh, about which there is 

Fig. 7.— The North- West Borderland. 



more to be said in connection with the hydrography of 
Baluchistan. Far away to the south, on a clear day, may 
be discerned a faint smoke-cloud arising from the great 
volcano, the Koh-i-Taftan (" or burning mountain "), snow- 
capped at 13,500 feet above sea-level ; whilst west as well 
as south are the broken uplands of Sarhad, the happy 

Fig. 8. 

hunting-ground of bands of Kurdish robbers — a country 
where u law is not, and God is forgotten." Nor is the 
northern frontier of Baluchistan carried through districts 
of much more promise than its western border. From 
the Malik Siah Koh to the borders of the Quetta district 
the boundary intersects the great desert of the Helmund, 
passing about fifty miles to the south of the river, and 
partly defining the southern watershed of its basin. 




It is only quite recently that this water parting between 
the Helmund and the great Mashkhel swamp (which, 
besides the drainage contributed by the two important 
rivers Mashkhel and Rakshan, receives the periodic 
torrents which flow from this patting) has been 

defined, and it is only lately that this desert has been 




Fig. 9. 

traversed and the caravan route established which now 
connects Seistan with Quetta. From a point about forty 
miles W.S.W. of Quetta the dividing line between Afghani- 
stan and Baluchistan strikes northward, and traces an 
uneven course to the western edge of the cultivation 
surrounding the little station of New Chaman, which 
represents the terminus of the Sind-Peshin railway in 
the direction of Kandahar. New Chaman is not more 



than seven or eight miles in a direct line from the 
northern mouth of that tunnel which pierces the Khojak 
range and carries the railway in a fairly direct course 
about half-way between Quetta and Kandahar. At 
New Chaman British India is practically in touch with 
Afghanistan. It is true that Baluchistan intervenes for 
more than 200 miles between New Chaman and the frontier 

of Sind near Jacobabad, 
but it is the Baluchistan 
of British occupation, one 
half of the distance lying 
within the hill districts 
ceded or rented to the 
British Government by 
Kalat, and the other in 
that Kachi (or low land) 

Fig. lo.-The Route from Quetta to which forms such a marked 


geographical feature at this 
point of our frontier, dovetailing in between the hills of 
Kalat and those belonging to the great independent tribes 
of Marri and Bugti. From New Chaman the general run 
of the Afghan-Baluch boundary is to the north-east. It 
is an irregular and much-indented line defining many 
local agricultural interests (for this part of Baluchistan is 
not the desert of the west and south), but following well- 
marked natural features where possible, until it touches 
the Gomal River at Domandi. 

The Gomal now represents the northern limit of 
Baluchistan. Its eastern boundary from the mouth of 
the river Hab (some twenty miles west of Karachi) to 
the debouchment of the Gomal River into the plains of the 
Derajat near Dera Ismail Khan, requires little definition. 
For administrative purposes it follows the line of the old 
pre-British frontiers of Sind, and may be said, roughly, to 
divide the hills from the plains ; excepting for a certain 
space where, leaving the Kalat Hills, it intersects the plains 
of Kach Gandava, and passing a little north of Jacobabad 
strikes the lowest slopes of the Bugti Mountains. For 
nearly 600 miles from the sea to the Gomal the frontier 


of India was thus denned by a well-marked line of topo- 
graphical features, which, if imperfect as a military barrier, 
possessed at least the merit of great simplicity and easy 

Just so far as the shelving slopes of the clay and 
conglomerate foot hills that buttressed the central lime- 
stone ridges of the Sulimani and Kirthar mountains were 
productive and available for the sowing of crops when 
stones and superincumbent debris was cleared there- 
from, so far did the old landowners of Sind and the 
Punjab claim full advantage of the soil, caring nothing 
for the rugged intricacies of the hills in front of them, nor 
troubling themselves about the development of a few 
square yards of cultivation here and there along the 
narrow edges of the torrent-swept water-courses which 
drained their cramped valleys. 

Every now and then there would be a descent of the 
Baluch clansmen into Sind, or of the Pathans of the 
Sulimani hills into the nearest plains; and a general lifting 
of cattle and goods ensued which called for reprisal and 
vengeance. The plains of India have ever furnished the 
hills of the frontier with a vicarious subsistence of this 
nature, but the ruggedness and intricacy of that border- 
land was far too effective, and the savage energy of the 
Rind descendants of early Arab occupation, or of the 
Pathan clans of the Sulimanis, was too well appreciated 
for any great show of reprisal, or for the conduct of a 
hill warfare such as might lead to permanent conquest. 
The Arab and Dravidian tribes of the Baluch frontier 
(Rinds and Brahuis) were never conquered and reduced 
to dependence any more than were the Pathans of the 
north, before our time. Through their fastnesses genera- 
tions of immigrants, invaders, and a few conquerors have 
passed from the highlands of Persia and Afghanistan to the 
plains of the Indus Valley, and in more recent years the 
process has been reversed by a reflex wave of migration ; 
but the independence of these mountaineers has never been 
seriously compromised, not even by the assertion of a 
right of way through their hills, and the balance of 




mutual understanding between Highlanders and plains- 
people has been more generally adjusted by weight of 
silver than of gun-metal. 

Some explanation seems necessary of the political 
boundaries of Baluchistan as they usually appear in our 
frontier maps, where a central section of the country 
enclosed within a narrow red line indicates British 

Fig. ii. — The Trans-Indus Inland Basins. 

Baluchistan dividing the independent Pathan tribes of 
Northern Baluchistan from the equally independent 
Baluch tribes of the south. Within the limits of British 
Baluchistan are the districts of Quetta and Bolan, held 
and administered by the Indian Government on behalf 
of Mir Mahmud Khan, the ruler of Kalat, in lieu of 
an annual subsidy of 25,000 rupees — which has lately 
been increased since Nushki has been included within 
the red line. A further sum of 30,000 rupees is paid to 
the Khan as compensation for duties levied in the Bolan. 



Besides Quetta and Bolan there are the assigned districts 
of Peshin, Shorarud, Kach, Kawas, Harnai, Sibi, and 
Tal-Chotiali which formerly belonged to Afghanistan, but 
which have been placed directly under British rule since 
the conclusion of the first phase of the Afghan War of 
1 878-79, and which, together with Quetta and Bolan, 
constitute the province of British Baluchistan. Within 

Fig. 12. — The Boundaries of Baluchistan. 

this province the form of settled administration is that of 
the regulation provinces of the Indian peninsula. Beyond 
it, the Khan of Kalat heads a powerful confederacy of 
Baluch chiefs who administer the Government of Inde- 
pendent Baluchistan on their own ancient feudal system, 
recognising, firstly, the suzerainty of the Khan of Kalat, 
and, ultimately, the position of the Governor-General's 
Agent at Quetta as arbitrator in all disputes which 
may arise between them. Amongst the Pathan tribes of 
Northern Baluchistan the Khan of Kalat possesses no 


authority. Their position is analogous in most respects 
to that of the Pathan tribes still farther north. Certain 
of these tribes immediately south of the Gomal (includ- 
ing the Sheranis) have recently been transferred for pur- 
poses of administration to the newly-formed north-western 

Baluchistan is now represented by a long, narrow 
province running approximately parallel to the Indus for 
about 750 miles from the Arabian Sea, with an average 
width of 200 miles, excepting where a triangular horn of 
desert reaches out from the Kalat highlands westwards to 
Seistan. With the exception of this Muhammadani and 
Kharan desert, of the delta of the Purali River of Las 
Bela, and of the Kachhi, or desert, which stretches from 
Jacobabad to the mouth of the Bolan pass, the whole 
country is mountainous. 

From the Gomal River to Jacobabad there stretches 
one continuous chain of mountain peaks, which, although 
now distinguished by many local names, may well be 
known under their ancient designation of Sulimani. 
They are, and they have ever been, through the ages of 
an immense past, the original habitat of the Pakhtun 
or Pashtu speaking mountaineers whom we now call 
Pathans. The Sulimani system is not a water parting ; it 
is not a central divide that throws off the beginning of a 
great system of drainage east and west. The slopes of the 
Sulimani hills, both east and west, drain equally to the 
Indus, and it is the drainage of the western slopes that, 
turning suddenly and bursting through the main chain of 
central limestone ridges, forms those terrific gorges and 
rock-bound mountain gates which are our only means of 
access to the traversable valleys of the western plateau. 
The main Sulimani ridge, which is the dominating feature 
of the Indus frontier south of the Gomal, lies back from 
the foot of the hills some thirty miles — which thirty miles 
of gradual descent from the plateau to the plains is packed 
close with narrow, rugged, sun-scorched, treeless ridges, 
composed chiefly of recent clays and conglomerates, which 
preserve an approximate parallelism in their strike, likening 


the whole system to a gigantic gridiron. Narrow little 
" subsequent " valleys between these sharp-backed ridges 
contribute an intermittent flow of brackish water to the 
main arteries, and these again, as before described, break 
transversely across the general strike of the minor ridges 
ere they debouch into the Indus plain. 

And if we transfer the general view of a system of 
steep, narrow, parallel ridges, alternating with equally-con- 
stricted valleys, and give an altitude to the hills such as 
will carry their peaks 8000 feet above sea-level ; clothe them 
with a scanty vegetation of grass, wild olive, and juniper ; 
widen out certain intermediate valleys, and fill them with 
occasional bunches of tamarisk jungle and coarse grass, 
admitting narrow bands of cultivation bordering streams 
that are occasionally perennial, we shall gain a fair 
general conception of the Baluchistan of the highlands 
lying west of the Sulimani and extending to the newly- 
defined frontier of Afghanistan. 

The dominating mountain of the Sulimani range is 
usually called the Takht-i-Suliman. This is (as usual with 
our Indian frontier nomenclature) an inaccurate designa- 
tion, unrecognised by the people of the country ; the 
Takht-i-Suliman being a famous ziarat, or shrine, which is 
situated some distance below the summit at the southern 
extremity of the mountain. The mountain itself is better 
known locally as the Kaisargarh, the name of the highest 
northern peak (11,300 feet above sea-level), which forms 
a magnificently dominant feature in the landscape, whether 
viewed from the far-away Indus plains, or from the 
shadowed sides of the precipitous hills which encompass 
it. For many years the Kaisargarh (which is some forty 
miles south of the Gomal River) was reckoned the highest 
peak of the Indian border south of the Himalayas. It is, 
however, surpassed by more than one of the gigantic 
mountains which overlook the valleys of Peshin and 
Quetta ; but for grandeur of outline enhanced by isolation, 
and for the traditional interest which hangs around its 
limestone crags, the Kaisargarh stands unrivalled amongst 
frontier landmarks. 


Traversing this northern section of Baluchistan from 
the head of the Peshin Valley to the Gomal River is the 
valley of the Zhob. The gradual (and surprising) develop- 
ment of this valley since its first introduction to the domain 
of practical Indian geography and politics ; the extra- 
ordinary resources possessed by its scarred and broken 
slopes, which presented not many years ago an aspect 
of barren, wind-swept desolation, tempered only by a 
few uneven patches of rice cultivation — all this is matter of 
modern history. Its future, as offering a line of direct 
railway communication between Lahore and Quetta, is 
matter of present discussion. We must leave the Zhob 
and its ancient Kakur (Pathan) inhabitants to turn to the 
central uplands of Peshin and Quetta, which divide 
Northern Baluchistan from Kalat and the south. 

A glance at the map will show that the Sind-Peshin 
Railway cuts Baluchistan into two divisions, and that it 
occupies a peculiarly well-balanced and central position 
with regard to the two sections of the province which it 
divides. The Kachhi, or flat, alluvial plain of Kach Gandava 
(which may justly be termed desert in all that central 
part of it occupied by the railway, and which is annually 
subject to flooding by the spill waters of the Indus) carries 
the line almost to the heart of the province ere it touches 
the hills at the debouchment of the Bolan and the Nari 
streams. Here the railway divides. One branch follows 
the line of Harnai and Nari drainage upwards from the 
plains to the valley of Peshin ; and the other, only lately 
diverted from the lower part of the old Bolan route to the 
valley of Mashkaf, reunites with the Bolan line at Mach, 
and finds more direct access to Quetta without touching 
the Peshin. Both lines will be lasting monuments of 
skilful engineering, but probably the Mashkaf develop- 
ment of the Bolan route will prove of the greatest 
practical value in the long run. 

The Harnai and the Bolan together introduce a special 
system of hydrography for central Baluchistan. The 
valley of Peshin and the plain of Quetta form a central 
elevation which parts the long lines of lateral drainage 



to the north (represented by the Zhob) from the yet longer 
lines of lateral drainage on the south, the direction of 


Fig. 13. — The Frontier Hydrography Radiating from Quetta. 

which is determined by the mountain system which 
governs the districts of Kalat and Kharan. The Bolan 
and the Harnai rivers both carry their tributaries straight 


across Baluchistan eastward to the Indus from the high 
plains surrounding Quetta. The catchment area of these 
rivers is comparatively small, but the shape of them, and 
especially the absence of surface soil in the rocky regions 
of their upper sources, leads to a sudden gathering of flood 
waters in their channels when the heavy storms of spring 
break over the Quetta Mountains such as is rare even in 
this flood-riddled country. The Bolan line of railway was 
washed out of existence by one such terrific flood before 
the Mashkaf alternative was adopted. 

Of the popular station of modern Quetta occupying 
the central highland of Baluchistan little need be said. 
From its geographical position it must always have been 
a point of strategical importance as well as a considerable 
commercial centre. It is surrounded by gigantic mountain 
peaks, running to 11,400 feet of elevation, the highest that 
Baluchistan can boast, and only eclipsed by the weird 
and isolated snow-capped volcano, the Koh-i-Taftan of 
the Persian border. The double-peaked Takatu on the 
north, balanced by Chiltan (Chahiltan) on the south-west, 
and the square-headed giant Murdar on the south-east 
(to all of which Quetta looks up from an altitude of about 
5800 feet above sea), form an entourage of mountains 
such as few cities in the world can boast. Beyond them 
again, to the east, the ramparts of Kalifat close up the 
landscape, blazing scarlet when winter sunset lights up 
the world of hills and snows with level shafts ; nor is it 
necessary to move far to gain a view of the silver cone 
of Kand, which parts the head waters of Peshin from 
those of Zhob. Looking towards Kandahar the level 
barrier of the Khojak is always visible whenever the yellow 
dusty haze of summer gives place to the clear definitions 
of winter atmosphere. Irrigation has developed the plain 
of Quetta and the valley of Peshin into a green oasis 
amongst these mountains in spring and summer. 
Nothing but a wide vista of crops — green fields broken by 
the dark outlines of orchard trees and hamlets — is then to 
be seen from the top of the Miri, that most ancient 
debris of mud volcano which dominates Quetta as Jt§ 



fortress and protection. Such is the result of British 
interference with frontier misgovernment for less than 
the space of one quarter of a century. 

Leaving Quetta and turning to the southern districts 


Fig. 14.— The Plain of Quetta. 

of Baluchistan (which may be dealt with in three divisions, 
i.e. the hill state of Kalat, the desert of Kharan, and the 
sea bordering the district of Makran), we at once en- 
counter a topographical system analogous to that which 


we left on the north. Those great evolutionary processes 
of Nature which moulded the eastern edge of the great 
Baluch-Afghan plateau into a succession of gigantic 
wrinkles (each wrinkle represented by a long narrow 
mountain ridge or upfold) like the sand ripples of a 
receding tide, were applied to the same general purpose 
and effect along a line which extends from the Kaisar- 
garh Mountain near the Gomal through Southern 
Baluchistan to the Persian border ; and thence, with 
certain modifications (here and there following the course 
of the Persian Gulf littoral), to Western Persia and the 
Caucasus. What may have been the nature of the 
primeval agency which cracked these wrinkles trans- 
versely across their axis, or permitted all the main 
arteries of drainage to maintain a course almost at 
right angles to the strike of them, may be still open to 
question. It is enough to note that the general con- 
formation of the mountains in Southern Baluchistan is 
similar to that in the northern section of the province. 
Long narrow valleys lead from Quetta first southwards, 
rising for about ninety miles to Kalat, and then, falling and 
bending with graceful curve from their meridional direction 
to a westerly trend, they run parallel to the coast of the 
Arabian Sea through Makran to the Persian border. 
From the close packed mountain regions south of Kalat 
a section of this border conformation continues its course 
due southward, culminating in the Kirthar range, and 
thus determines the shape of the Indus Valley. Between 
these southerly and westerly extensions space is gained 
for a triangle of comparatively low country which lies 
in the fork between them. This little triangular space 
is the frontier state of Las Bela, which consists chiefly 
of the delta of the Purali River (the ancient Arabis) 
draining into the Arabian Sea at Sonmiani, not far north 
of Karachi. 

The state of Kalat lies at a general elevation which is 
higher by more than iooo feet than Quetta. The fortress 
of Kalat may be said to define the geographical "hub" — 
the great central watershed — of Southern Baluchistan, 


from which, to north and south, the hydrographical system 
of the country spreads outwards. Southwards we pass 
by gentle gradients through the long narrow valleys 
(which extend perchance for hundreds of miles, bounded 
on either hand by level-topped mountain ridges without 
an apparent break in their flat brown sides), either to 
Las Bela and the sandy flats of the Purali delta, or to 
the palm-fringed valleys of Makran and Mashkhel. If 
we move directly west we shall be landed in the wide 
spaces of the Kharan desert with Seistan on the western 
horizon. The desert of Kharan, and the yet wider wastes 
which are peopled by nomadic Baluch tribes between 
Kharan and the Helmund, have upon closer acquaintance 
proved to be infinitely less hostile to traffic than was 
supposed some years ago. A great central space of the 
desert is occupied by mountains, rough, jagged, and sun- 
scorched in appearance, but which, nevertheless, give rise to 
a fringe of fresh-water springs at the foot of their shelving 
slopes, about the clefts and edges of which vegetation is 
occasionally abundant. A trade route between Seistan 
and Quetta, passing through this desert space and touching 
these mountains, was not unknown to the mediaeval Arab 
occupants of Baluchistan, and it has lately been re-opened 
to frontier trade. A marked geographical feature of the 
Kharan desert is the great swamp, or lagoon, which, under 
the name of the Mashkhel Hamun, absorbs the drainage 
of an enormous area of Southern Afghanistan and Eastern 
Persia of which the hydrography is unconnected with 
the sea. The sea-board sill or fringe of Persia and 
Baluchistan which contributes water to the Gulf or to the 
Arabian Sea is exceedingly narrow — perhaps less, on an 
average, than 200 miles in width. There is, in fact, no 
river of any importance draining into the sea between 
the Indus and the Euphrates. 

The coast province of Makran has played so im- 
portant a part in the early histories of Indian occupation, 
and is still so intimately associated with frontier political 
problems, that a short reference to the peculiarities of its 
geographical conformation becomes necessary. Like the 



rest of the Indian frontier, the marked parallelism in 
strike in its principal mountain ranges is the prominent 
feature of their conformation. There are districts in 
Makran (as there are in the basin of the Zhob north of 
Quetta) where many square miles of area are tight packed 
with an outcrop of innumerable little ridges, knife edged, 
and jagged, yearly diminishing in height under the influ- 
ence of denudation, so that the intervening valleys are 
gradually filling and the ridges gradually lowering, until 
a line of sharp edges, presented by the thin strata of in- 
durated clay protruding from the ground at an angle 

Fig. 15. — The Orography of Makran. 

indicating the general dip of the formation, is frequently the 
only sign left of a buried barrier of miles in length. And 
this natural action of levelling down, the progress of 
which can be so readily discerned on the smaller scale, is a 
dominant feature throughout the larger Makran mountain 
system ; so much so, that Makran might almost be called 
the land of disintegrating hills. The result to the traveller 
who crosses its stony wastes is inconceivably disagree- 
able. Excepting along the lateral valleys which intersect 
this Makran wilderness from end to end he either en- 
counters little but stone-covered flats where boulders lie 
thick as the pebbles on a sea-shore, or else he stumbles 
across the sharp edges of a protruding slate stratification, 
equally aggressive and more dangerous. The coast-line 
of Makran is separated from the hills by a narrow sill 


of sandy littoral, broken, however, near the Hinglaz River 
by the square-headed buttresses of Malan, the feet of 
which are washed by the Arabian Sea. Here indeed is 
some variation in the usually rigid conformation of ridge 
and valley. Amongst the gigantic cliffs of Malan which 
overlook the deep-set valley of the Hingol River are narrow 
little gorges and ravines, each carrying its tribute of fresh 
water (so rare elsewhere in the country) to the blue depths 
of the main stream, and abounding in a freshness of green 
vegetation which is to be found nowhere amongst the 
hills of lesser altitude. The scenery is impressive and 
grand, as is usually the case where the rivers of the fron- 
tier burst through the barrier of frontier mountains ; and 
the rare beauty of this exception to the sterility of Makran 
landscape has been recognised through past ages by a 
people who are ever ready to devote all things beautiful in 
Nature to the direct service of the gods. Near Hinglaz, 
hidden away in one of these green byways of the moun- 
tains, is a shrine (the shrine of Bibi Nani) which is cele- 
brated from the Euphrates to the Ganges. Here Hindoo 
and Muhammadan pilgrims alike resort, each claiming 
the divine protection of the presiding goddess or of the 
departed saint, according to the tenets of their faith ; and 
neither recognising that the object of their veneration is 
probably the same goddess who was known to the Chal- 
deans under the same old-world name (Nana) a thousand 
years before the time of Abraham. Nothing testifies so 
strongly to the unchangeable nature of the geographical 
link formed by Makran between east and west than does 
this remarkable ziarat hidden away in the deep folds of 
the Malan Mountains. 

A curious feature in coast formation is presented by 
the headlands of Ormara, Pasni, and Gwadur, which, 
with the enchanted island of Astola, lying between Pasni 
and Ormara, apparently indicate the former existence of a 
now submerged mountain chain in which these headlands 
were dominating incidents. The nature of recent changes 
that have occurred on the Arabian sea-coast will, however, 
be referred to hereafter. Meanwhile it should be noted 


that these headlands represent a series of great natural 
breakwaters which give to Makran her only seaports, and it 
is from the harbours afforded by them that all routes north- 
ward into the interior of Southern Baluchistan diverge. 
It is at the remote stations of the Indo-Persian telegraph 
system which are established at these points on the coast that 
the only European occupation of Makran at present exists. 
The port of Gwadur is exceptional. Gwadur is a depen- 
dency of Muscat, and is not subject to Baluch authority. 1 
The appearance of arid, sun-dried desolation that 
marks the coast scenery of Makran when viewed from the 
sea, largely disappears inland. There is a scanty vegeta- 
tion, consisting chiefly of coarse grass and tamarisk, 
wherever there is water to support it. Near Sonmiani 
Bay, on the southern littoral of the Las Bela State, there 
are still the mangrove swamps which attracted the atten- 
tion of the historians of Nearkhos 300 years B.C., and 
which now flourish in the neighbourhood of Karachi. 
Many of the spices which were so prominent in the 
ancient coast trade of the Arabian Sea may yet be found 
between the Hingol River and Karachi ; the palms of 
Gwadur have now extended to the inland valleys, but 
the Gwadur myrtle has disappeared for ever. Passing 
inland from any of the coast ports, as the track winds 
through the intricacies of the closely massed system of 
inferior and barren ridges which intervene between the 
coast and the lateral palm-filled valleys of the interior, 
there are signs of a far more general occupation of the 
country in mediaeval times than exists at present. There 
are the remains of terraced fields on the hill-sides with 
partially destroyed revetments, whilst here and there a 
few clumps of palms amongst the prevailing growth of 
tamarisk and scrub betoken a former period of careful 
cultivation. But taken as a whole, the words of the old 
Arab traveller and geographer, Ibn Haukel, who describes 
Makran as " a vast country, mostly desert," may be 
accepted as a fair indication of the physical characteristics 
of that country even to this day. 

1 Written in 1 899. There is a change in the telegraph system impending. 


An exception to the general rule of arid desolation 
is found in the long valleys of the interior — the valleys 
of Kej, of Bolida, of Panjgur and others of minor 
importance, where the wealth of cultivated crops over- 
shadowed by a thick growth of feathery date-palms affords 
a scene of luxuriant beauty which is all the more im- 
pressive from the rugged nature of its setting of desolate 
hills. The dates of Panjgur are celebrated, and, with 
wool, which is also of an exceptionally fine quality, and 
dried fish, form the chief exports of Makran. Date groves 
of an inferior sort are also to be found in the salt swamps 
adjoining the Mashkhel Hamun ; but inferior as is the 
quality of the fruit grown there, its bare existence is quite 
sufficient to render these groves the object of constant 
raids. They have been the scene of much bloody border 
strife which continued almost without intermission until 
the question of boundary rights was settled by the Perso- 
Baluch Boundary Commission of 1895—96. 

This very cursory description of the nature of the 
Baluch and Makran mountain wilderness, that country of 
which the inhabitants are wont to say that " when God 
made the world He left the rubbish in Baluchistan," but 
which yet possesses many points of great physical beauty, 
would be incomplete without some account of the ancient 
highways of Southern Asia which pass through it India- 
wards, and which have assisted to shape the ethnographical, 
if not the material, development of the peninsula. For 
the sake of preserving continuity when associated with 
the routes of Afghanistan we will commence with the 
Southern Coast. 

During many centuries of mediaeval history eastern 
trade by land and sea with India was in Arab hands. For 
centuries previous to the Christian era it is probable that 
Arabs traded down the coasts of the Red Sea and Persian 
Gulf, and found their way to the Indus by hugging the 
coast-line of the Arabian Sea. Thence creeping round 
the Indian Continent they reached Ceylon and the East 
Indian islands. But in order to avoid the full force 
of the monsoon at certain seasons, they established an 


important post at Tiz, the ruins of which are to be found 
close to the telegraph post of Charbar, some ioo miles to 
the west of Gwadur, in Persian territory. From Tiz they 
established a somewhat circuitous overland route which 
is rendered obligatory, partly by the great barrier of the 
Malan mountains blocking the coast, and partly by the 
deep indentations, or arms of the sea, extending far inland 
from the present fishing village of Sonmiani which lies at 
the head of the bay of that name. It was a well-known 
and well-formed highroad with regular stages and large 
flourishing towns at intervals which then connected Tiz 
with the Indus Valley. The stages were, however, long 
(as stages ridden by Arabs on camels usually are), and the 
full length of the journey from Tiz to the ancient city of 
Debal in the Indus delta was completed in far less time 
than we should now be able to traverse it by similar 
methods. This route passed by Turbat (near the ancient 
Kej) and then followed the Kej Valley to a point near its 
head. Passing by Las Bela and Uthal (formerly known 
under other names) it turned the barrier of the Sind frontier 
hills not very far from Karachi and debouched into the 
Indus delta. 

When the Arab conqueror, Muhammad Kasim, invaded 
India and conquered all Sind about the year A.D. 720, 
he found no difficulty in traversing Makran with his 
Syrian Arabs, Makran being then an Arab dependency ; 
and probably far more developed in the matter of internal 
resources than it has ever been since. No practicable 
military road to India from the west lies along the coast 
of Makran, in spite of the fact that it denotes the line of 
telegraph communication between India and Europe ; and 
yet it is near the coast that we find most, and clearest, 
evidences of successive migrations from Mesopotamia, 
Media, and Persia towards India. The Parsis of Bombay, 
last existing representatives of Zoroastrian supremacy in 
Persia, have here left evidence of their final exodus from 
Persia eastwards. Before them were Dravidian irruptions 
innumerable in prehistoric times, the traces of which can 
be found written in the face of the hills and valleys of 


Southern Makran in unmistakable characters ; and it was, 
as we know with historical certainty, along the coast-line 
that Alexander endeavoured to retreat when he lead his 
army out of India back to Persia. He failed, and he lost 
two-thirds of his broken force. He failed because he 
attempted to support his fleet with his army, and turned 
northwards, inland, too late. All the great immigrations 
of western tribes and armies through Makran which have 
influenced Indian history and Indian ethnography must, 
however, eventually have broken through the Sind barrier 
at one point only — a point which is within striking dis- 
tance of Karachi. It is a remarkable fact that we may 
examine the Sind ranges northward for 230 miles before 
we find again any really practicable break in them. There 
is no section of the western frontier of India so securely 
guarded against any approach from the west as that 200 
miles of impassable barrier formed by the straight-backed 
Khirtar Mountains. At the end of it, 200 miles from the 
sea, we find the Mulla Pass, a long and circuitous defile 
which connects Kalat with the Indus plains at Gandava. 

There are some historical authorities who think that 
the Mulla route may once have served a military purpose 
when Alexander despatched his general, Krateros, in com- 
mand of the heavy division to make his way to Persia by 
some other line than that of the Makran coast, although 
we know that the Mulla was only developed into a 
recognised trade route in later days, when Gandava 
became a great trade centre under the rule of the Arabs 
in Sind. We know that Krateros passed by Quetta and 
Kandahar to the Helmund, so that it appears to be equally 
possible that the one great open highroad to Quetta 
which has been recognised through all modern histories 
as affording the most direct access to Kandahar — the 
Bolan — was the route which he selected. Kalat, as 
already suggested, was ever a dominating position on 
those trade routes which connected Seistan with India by 
way of the Kharan desert, or by tracks passing through the 
deserts south of the Helmund. 

Between Kalat and the Gandava plains the Mulla 



route is the natural connection, in spite of its physical 
disadvantages, and it undoubtedly once possessed more 
importance than it does at present ; but the most obvious, 
because the most direct and the easiest, connection 
between Southern Afghanistan and the plains of Sind 
passing through Baluchistan is the one which, in two 
branches, is now occupied by the line of the Sind-Peshin 
Railway, connecting Jacobabad with Quetta. 

Greatest of all the mediaeval cities of the Indus Valley 
was Multan. There were other great cities which have 
left nothing but a shadowy outline of their greatness on 
the spaces where they once stood ; but Multan, which still 
lives, was ever the greatest trade centre of Western India. 
Its magnificent buildings and fabulous wealth; its mosques 
and its far-famed idol (which seems to have survived the 
introduction of the mosques) ; its spacious streets and 
gardens ; its u sarais," and all the many seductions which 
gladden the heart of the weary traveller, placed Multan 
without a rival as the capital of Western India and the 
objective of every great caravan road which followed the 
Indus. There must have been a direct highway -from 
Kalat and Quetta to Multan, a road to link Southern 
Afghanistan with India, very much straighter than that 
which followed the Bolan or Nari rivers into the plains. 

Such a route is found in the Sakki Sarwar, which 
takes its name from a ziarat, or shrine, at the foot of the 
hills opposite Dera Ghazi Khan, and which is the route 
probably followed by Nadir Shah in the eighteenth cen- 
tury when he withdrew his victorious army from Delhi. 
A modification of the old route now connects Dera Ghazi 
Khan with Quetta and Peshin, and it is the only highroad 
crossing the border which is of any great importance 
between the Bolan and the Gonial. 

North of the Sakki Sarwar, between that pass and the 
Gonial, the Sulimani Hills (long supposed to be impene- 
trable from India) are practically riddled with intersecting 
tracks and passes of various degrees of difficulty, not one 
of which is, however, important, except as affording access 
to the border hills in case of military or political necessity. 


Beyond the Sulimanis, on their western slopes, there 
extends a system of flanking lateral valleys (of which 
the Zhob is the longest) which connectedly form a line 
of military communication parallel to that range and 
(with reference to India) in rear of it. These valleys, 
with their olive-covered slopes and grassy declivities, 
are all under British occupation, dominated from a 
central position at Fort Sandeman ; and thus the great 
band of Sulimani Mountains, their rugged peaks and 
gorges, the rocky line of summits intersected by goat 
tracks, are held as securely as if they were occupied 
by military posts. Their ever-restless Pathan inhabitants 
find themselves with no back door of escape from certain 
punishment if, from their own position of independence, 
they venture to interfere with that of their neighbours. 
It is this (and the same principle holds good for all the 
Baiuch frontier) rather than any wide distinction between 
the warlike characteristics of one tribe of Pathans and 
another, or between Baiuch and Afghan, that renders 
our southern frontier safe from periodic eruptions such 
as have lately convulsed the north. Doubtless the con- 
ditions which govern Baiuch existence, the system of 
tribal confederation approaching the feudalism of the 
middle ages, and the influence of the chief rather than 
that of the Mullah (which is a marked characteristic 
amongst Baluchis as compared with Pathans), has much 
to say to the apparent readiness with which they have 
accepted British control, with all the advantages of mutual 
inter-tribal toleration and goodwill. 

But the Baiuch is by heredity and by instinct quite as 
much a fighting man as the Pathan, and in many respects 
he is composed of far finer material. He is more 
chivalrous and less fanatical. He is of better physique 
and more temperate habits. What grander specimen 
of the border chieftain could be found in the record 
of any frontier highland history than was presented in 
the person of Azad Khan, the late ruler of Kharan, who 
at ninety years of age was as bold a rider, as swift and 
capable a leader of his unruly band of raiders, as powerful 


an athlete as any man of thirty who followed him ? 
Nor is the marked difference of action pursued in the 
conduct of military tactics by Baluch and Pathan re- 
spectively altogether conducive to our recognition of 
the latter as the superior fighting man. It is charac- 
teristic of the two races that the Pathan should trust 
to the accuracy of a long-range rifle and his capacity 
for concealing himself behind the most elementary cover ; 
and that the Baluch, finding himself outmastered in the 
open field, should die at the head of his men in one final 
effort to close with his enemy. There is no lack of 
chivalrous courage about the Baluch chief, and no 
cringing to the voice of any fanatical priesthood. His 
ancestry and his traditions are his pride, and his own 
right hand is his defence. 

The complicated question of the ethnography of 
Baluchistan and its relation not only to the tribal distribu- 
tion of the western frontier, but to a very large section of 
the Dravidian population of Southern India, is one which 
claims more exhaustive treatment than it can receive here. 
The geography of Herodotus, from which we learn the 
names of the tribes and people occupying the seventeenth 
Satrapy of the Persian empire (which includes a great 
part of modern Baluchistan), enumerates many peoples 
which can be identified to this day ; and Arrian's history 
of Alexander's retreat further leads us to the con- 
clusion that there was no vast difference between the dis- 
tribution of tribes of Dravidian or Persian origin who 
occupy Baluchistan now and that of 2500 years ago. 
The governing race of Baluchistan was, until quite recent 
historical times, that of the Boledi, a race which is men- 
tioned by Ptolemy, and whose real name (according to 
Bellew) " seems to have been Bola, probably deriving 
from the Assyrian (Asura of the Mahabharat), Bael, Bal, 
or Bel." However that may be, it seems possible that 
they gave their name to Baluchistan. It was only during 
the eighteenth century that the Boledi were dispossessed by 
the Gichki, a dynasty of Rajput extraction. The Dravidian 
peoples encountered by Alexander are still to be found 


where he found them, and we can trace a Dravidian ancestry 
for the Brahui (or Bar Rohi, i.e. the hill men), who hold 
all that impenetrable mass of hill frontier country which 
extends along the Sind border from Kalat to the sea. 
The date of the first Dravidian occupation of the Baluch 
frontier is lost in the mists of antiquity. It was certainly 
anterior to the great irruption of Aryan races from Central 
Asia about 2000 years B.C. Vast successive waves of 
Turanian immigration swept in from the west — from the 
plains of Mesopotamia and the highlands of Persia — and 
they must have included pre-Semitic races from ancient 
Chaldaea. Strange monuments of evident Turanian origin 
are to be found amongst the Makran Hills ; curious 
evidences of relationship to peoples who were buried in 
the valley of the Euphrates. Some of these human tides 
may have flowed through Southern Baluchistan, and 
creeping along by the coast-line down the western borders 
of the Indian continent may have spread into the jungles 
of the Central Provinces. Others, such as the Brahuis 
who still talk a language allied to that of the Dravidian 
tribes of Southern India, found themselves driven south- 
ward into a compact mass of hills on the Sind border 
with no convenient outlet to the east, and taking posses- 
sion of this wilderness, have been able easily to hold their 
own against all comers through successive ages ever 
since. Thus the Dravidian and Persian ethnographical 
stock of Baluchistan is the earliest for whose existence we 
can in any way account, although there are indications of 
a yet earlier prehistoric occupation to be found in Arrian's 
account of those Makran fish-eating savages who were 
encountered by the Greeks near the mouth of the Hingol 

Grafted on to the early Persian, Dravidian, and 
Ethiopian stock, we find representatives of a vast num- 
ber of other races all more or less historically modern. 
Chief amongst them, claiming precedence of all others, 
and rejoicing in the distinction of being " assal" (true) 
Baluch, are those tribes of Arabic origin who are 
best represented by the great confederation of Rinds. 


The Arabs not only held possession of all the Indus 
Valley for centuries after its conquest by Muhammad 
Kasim, but they had colonised Southern Baluchistan, and 
turned Makran into an Arab dependency, long ere that 
conquest was effected. Muhammad Kasim in his advance 
on India was largely dependent on the assistance afforded 
by the Arab governor of Baluchistan for the facility with 
which he traversed the country. Having once reached 
Sind there is historical evidence to show that the original 
Arab conquerors (who were recruited chiefly from Syria) 
never returned to their own country. They took " wives 
of the people," and as a natural consequence the Arab 
tongue ceased to be spoken in the course of a few genera- 
tions. Hardly a word of Arabic (excepting in technical 
geographical expressions) is to be found in the vocabulary 
of the Baluch frontier now, and little or nothing remains 
of that remarkable and most successful invasion of India, 
except the Semitic features of a vast majority of the Rinds, 
and a tenacious clinging to traditions and .genealogies 
which represent every Baluch chief of importance as a 
member of the prophet's own tribe. 

Roughly speaking, the Rinds (Arabs), Naoshirwanis, t\e, 
the people of Kharan (Persians), and Brahuis (Dravidians), 
divide Southern Baluchistan between them. Northern 
Baluchistan, from Peshin to the Gomal, is in the hands of 
an ancient Pushtu-speaking people, represented by many 
tribes and tribal sections, of whom it is sufficient to say 
that they were mostly there in the days of Herodotus, 
before Alexander entered India. They are Pathans whose 
origin is lost in antiquity, and it is only in deference to 
political convenience that they are included within the 
borders of official Baluchistan. 

Geographical information dealing with the general configuration of 
Baluchistan has been acquired within the last twenty years through the 
agency of the Survey of India. Previous to the commencement of syste- 
matic geographical surveys in that country there was little or nothing 
known which proved to be of any great use in the compilation of existing 
maps. Consequently the author is indebted chiefly to his own notes for 
the information contained in this chapter, so far as it deals with modern 


topography. In collecting data for such reference to the ethnography, 
archaeology, and ancient history of the Baluch borderland as are herein 
to be found, the researches of members of the Survey parties employed 
in mapping the country were directed to points of interest indicated by 
the very few ancient and modern writers who have dealt with Baluchi- 
stan. Bellew is perhaps the principal authority, although his attention 
was directed chiefly to the neighbouring state of Afghanistan. Pottinger 
was one of the first to differentiate between the many Baluch tribes in 
modern times, and to give some shape to the ethnographical status of 
the country. There are ancient references to Baluchistan to be found 
in the work of Herodotus, who enumerates the tribes of the great satra- 
pies of the Persian Empire. Arrian's history of the Greek retreat from 
India has also added much to our knowledge of ancient geography of 
Makrdn. G. P. Tate's pamphlet, " Kalat," the Census reports of the 
Indian Government, and Thornton's " Life of Sandeman " may also be 
studied with advantage. The best maps are of course the sheets of the 
Indian Survey, which include the topography of the whole country — 
some of it on a fairly large scale. But they are difficult to get in 



Statistics. — The independent kingdom of Afghanistan is about 500 miles in 
breadth and 600 in length from Herat to the Khaibar. Its area is about 
215,500 square miles, and population about four millions. 

It is bounded on the west by Persia; on the north by Central Asian 
states under Russian influence ; on the east by the Independent tribes of the 
British frontier (touching British India at those points where we hold the 
passes into the country passing through tribal territory) ; and on the south by 
Baluchistan (touching India at the northern limits of British Baluchistan). 

The government of the country is that of an hereditary monarchy, and its 
political status practically that of an independent state, subject only to 
British influence. The present Amir is Habibulla Khan, son of Abdur 
Rahman Khan, who succeeded his father in the year 1900. 

There are five provinces in Afghanistan, viz. Kabul, Herat, Kandahar, 
Turkestan, and Badakshan, each under a provincial governor who distributes 
justice through the sirdars and chiefs on a feudal system which admits of 
many irregularities, but which is not unsuited to the temper of the people. 
The population is mixed, consisting chiefly of Duranis (or pure Afghans), 
Ghilzais, Tajaks, Hazaras, Aimak tribes and Usbegs. 

The exact value of the revenue of the country is unknown, but a subsidy 
of Rx. 180,000 paid yearly by the Indian Government is expended almost 
entirely on the army. 

The army includes between 50,000 and 60,000 regular troops, besides 
twice that number of "kasidars," or irregulars, who are mostly mountaineers. 

The cavalry (numbering about 8000) and artillery are well equipped, and 
form an efficient body of troops. There are at present more mountain guns 
in Afghanistan than in India, and it is probable that a rifle could be placed 
in the hands of every capable fighting man in the country. The Kabul 
workshops, under European supervision, turn out ammunition sufficient for 
the needs of the country besides guns and rifles. The Hazara corps of 
sappers and miners is also a most excellent factor of the regular service. 
The infantry is usually badly turned out, and the officers are uneducated and 
untrustworthy leaders in the field. The traditional Afghan army has more 
frequently bought its victories than won them by hard fighting. 

The trade between Northern Afghanistan (Kabul) and India was registered 
at Rx. 294,600 exports from India, and Rx. 217,230 imports in 1899. The 
exports consist chiefly of cotton goods, indigo, sugar, and tea. The imports 
include horses, fruit, grain, drugs, wool, silk, cattle, hides, and tobacco. 
The heavy transit duties prohibit trade altogether between India and the 
countries north of the Oxus. 



The trade between Kandahar and India amounted to Rx. 263, 880 exports 
from India, and Rx. 329,920 imports into India in 1898-99. Three-fourths 
of the exports from India consisted of cotton piece goods. Three-eighths 
of the imports consist of raw wool, the remainder being chiefly fruit. 

From the Gomal River which debouches on to the Indus 
Valley plains (here called the Derajat) near Dera Ismail 
Khan to the Malik Siah Koh Mountain, the frontier land- 
mark of Southern Seistan, the boundary of Afghanistan 
marches with that of Baluchistan already described. 

From the Malik Siah Koh to the Helmund swamps 
northward it was determined by the Seistan arbitration of 
1872. This part of it consists of a direct (but unde- 
marcated) line dividing Seistan, and trending north-east 
till it touches the Helmund River just above the head 
of the irrigation system which waters the plains about 
Nasratabad. Nasratabad (the fortress of which place is 
called Husainabad, and frequently gives its name locally 
to the whole town) is the modern capital of Seistan. So 
far, the boundary of Afghanistan runs for about eighty miles 
through the flat alluvial districts formed by the Helmund 
delta, all of which were once irrigated and trained into 
one vast area of cultivation. The Afghan side of the line 
is now bare of crops, a wilderness no longer fertilised 
by the ancient irrigation which once distributed the 
Helmund waters from the great u bund " (or dam) of 
Kamal Khan by a central canal running westward past the 
ancient city of Taraki. On the Persian side the natural 
wealth of this whilom " granary of Asia" is fairly well 
sustained. From the point where the boundary meets it, 
the Helmund River itself becomes the boundary as far as 
the final swamps into which its waters are merged, 1 and 
from these swamps northward for about 200 miles there 
is no demarcated boundary. 

The elevated plateau of the Perso-Afghan border 
consists of open undulating plains of sandy formation, 
varied by wide gravel-covered flats intersected at intervals 
by short ridges and isolated peaks, the last south-westerly 

1 Recent changes in the river's course have necessitated re-demarcation, and 
a commission is at present engaged on this duty, 



offshoots of the mountains which dominate the province of 
Herat south of the Hari Rud. This formation is usually 
called u desert " in official publications, but the word is 
hardly applicable. Water is indeed scarce, and in the 
immediate neighbourhood of the central watershed which 
forms the natural boundary between Persia and Afghanistan, 
it is unobtainable. But there is a fairly constant vegetation 
of scrub — chiefly wormwood — and the profusion of low- 

Fig. 1 6. — The Extension of the Hindu Kush from the Himalayas. 

growing plants and flowers which appear after the spring 
rains in this wind-swept region entirely belie the appella- 
tion of desert. The native term for these wide, but not 
barren, sandy spaces (which are a marked feature through- 
out Afghanistan and Baluchistan) is " dasht," and that word 
will be adopted in future to denote an elevated plain, or 
talus, extending from the foot-hills of high mountains, 
sometimes sandy and affording freedom to lateral move- 
ment, and sometimes stone-covered and traversable with 
difficulty. The li dasht " is never entirely devoid of vegeta- 



tion. Occasionally it is carpeted with grass and flowers, 
knee-deep and compact, something like an American 
prairie. The " dasht " is indeed to the nomadic peoples of 
these border countries what the prairie is, or was, to the 
Red Indian — his home, his world, the support of his flocks 
and herds, his happy hunting-ground. .Absolutely barren 
desert is rare in Southern Asia. When it occurs it is 


Fig. 17. — Boundaries of Afghanistan. 

usually in connection with " kavirs " or swamps where salt 
strata underlying the soil effectually destroys all vegetable 
growth for many miles around a central depression. 

A short space of demarcated boundary occurs near 
Hashtadun before touching the banks of the Hari Rud 
(the river of Herat), not far from the old town of Kuhsan. 
Thenceforward it is marked by the course of the stream 
to the now historical Russian post of Zulfikar, from which 
point to the Oxus River near Khamiab it was demarcated 
and defined by pillars erected during the progress of the 


Anglo-Russian Boundary Commission of 1884-86. From 
Zulfikar it cuts across two great affluents of the Murghab 
River (the Kushk and Kashan streams), touching a point 
on the Kushk River about sixty miles north of Herat, but 
separated from that city by the Koh-i-Baba Mountains. 
Thence it runs north-east through " Choi " and flat Turko- 
man " dasht " to the cultivation that borders the Oxus at 
Khamiab. The " Choi ' is but a vast procession of low 
hills cut out by the drainage action of ages from loess 
formations which, composed partly of washed-down de- 
tritus from the mountains and partly of blown sand from 
the great north-western deserts of Kara Kum, form a 
wide ramp stretching from the Band-i-Turkestan Moun- 
tains far northward into the plains of the Oxus. The 
Band-i-Turkestan are the northern offshoots of the great 
central mass of mountains which separate the Oxus plains 
from the highlands of Afghanistan. For the winter half of 
the year the Choi country is a barren and desolate region, 
especially beloved of marmots and rats. From off the 
face of it every vestige of vegetation has been swept by 
the fierce blasts of the autumn winds, until it presents the 
appearance of a desolate sea of rigid sand waves. In 
spring and summer it becomes glad with the brilliant hues 
of acres of tulips, poppies, and purple-headed thistles 
amidst knee-deep grass — a land of beauty, which the 
wild ass and the antelope share between them. There is 
little space in the narrow intersecting valleys of the Choi 
for cultivation, but it is probable that under the more 
settled conditions that have prevailed in that country 
during the last fifteen years, that little has been greatly 
developed. Passing about twenty miles to the west of 
the modern city of Andkui (the probable site of the 
ancient Antiokhia, built by Antiokhus, son of Seleukus), 
through the flat, but not entirely arid, Turkoman dasht 
to the saxsal covered sand dunes of the Oxus River and 
the cultivation of Khamiab, the Afghan boundary at 
length touches the banks of the river. From this point 
to Lake Victoria (the great central lake of the Pamirs), for 
650 miles, the Oxus defines it, and lifts it through every 


variety of plain and mountain scenery for 12,400 feet to 
the great reservoirs of the " roof of the world." The 
Oxus level at Khamiab is about 1000 feet above sea ; at 
Lake Victoria it is 13,400 feet. Although the Oxus is 
not actually beyond the pale of Indian polity, it is so far 
removed from the Indian frontier that a consideration of 
the physical characteristics of the river itself would carry 
us too far afield. One noticeable feature may, however, 
claim a passing reference. Within historical periods this 
great central Asian waterway has shifted its course. A 
short distance south of Khamiab the ancient bed may be 
traced through the shifting sands which surround Tash 
Kuduk, but whether it ever debouched into the Caspian 
Sea is still a matter of dispute amongst geographers. The 
Caspian has itself so changed its outline as to leave the 
nature of the connection uncertain. It is, however, prob- 
able that the gradual evolution of an elevated ridge, or 
anticlinal, which appears to be in process of formation 
through the plains of Afghan Turkestan parallel to the 
Oxus has affected the hydrography of the country. Rivers 
flowing northward from the mountains intervening between 
the Oxus plains and the Afghan highlands no longer reach 
the Oxus. They are lost in the great swamps and marshes 
which surround Akcha, or in the cultivated districts of 

All the great plain lying between the Oxus and the 
central Afghan mountain system of Hindu Kush and its 
continuation westwards to the Band-i-Turkestan, is known 
as Afghan Turkestan. Beyond it on the north-east lies 
Badakshan, and beyond Badakshan, the Pamir region. 
The northern Turkestan province of Afghanistan is so far 
removed from the rest of the kingdom by the central 
mass of intervening mountains that it will be convenient 
to note some of its most prominent characteristics before 
following the Afghan boundary farther. 

The western portion of Afghan Turkestan, which lies 
on the northern slopes of the Koh-i-Baba (intervening 
between Kushk and Herat), and of the Tirband-i-Turkestan, 
is a broken mass of rolling downs and Choi country easily 



traversable in any direction; grass-covered in summer and 
bare and wind-swept in winter. Through this western 
portion northward runs the Kushk River, the Murghab, 
and its affluent, the Chaharshamba, all of which streams 
afford good and easy highways after leaving the moun- 
tains. Along the line of the Kushk River, southward 
from the Russo-Afghan boundary, extends the recognised 
highroad to Herat. Eastwards of this line of approach to 
Western Afghanistan no other line occurs until we reach the 

Fig. i 8.— The Oxus Basin. 

eastern limits of the Afghan Turkestan province at Mazar- 
i-Sharif. Between the Kushk and Mazar no practicable 
route exists across the wild elevated plateau held by the 
Mongol races of Afghanistan. From Mazar-i-Sharif to 
Kabul there is indeed a highroad, a sort of road which is 
sufficiently practicable for commercial purposes, although 
it crosses the backbone of the Hindu Kush, but which 
could be rendered quite impracticable for military pur- 
poses at many points on its devious course. 

Between the Kushk River and Mazar-i-Sharif, and 
facing the Russian boundary, are the following Afghan 
towns : Bala Murghab, Maimana, Andkhui, Akcha, and 



Balkh. All of them are situated on those lines of drainage 
which should (but which do not) reach the Oxus, and all 
command a certain amount of cultivated space, and boast 
local bazaars and markets. None of them are of political 
importance except Mazar-i-Sharif, which is not only the 
headquarters of the Governor of Afghan Turkestan, but 
is a very sacred Muhammadan centre. 

Balkh, the "mother of cities" (said to have been founded 
by Nimrod), has figured in ancient history as the central 

Fig. 19. — The Russian Position North of Afghanistan. 

focus of Asiatic trade, dominating the vast extent of the 
lower Oxus plain once cultivated and teeming with a 
civilised population. This can never be again. Its 
glories have been overshadowed by the sacred shrines of 
Mazar-i-Sharif since the ruthless hands of such world's 
destroyers as Chenghiz Khan and his Mongol successors 
swept the walls of Balkh from their foundations and 
destroyed its inhabitants at recurrent intervals. It is also 
possible that the gradual evolutions of Nature, tending 
towards the elevation of the Balkh plain, may have had 
much to do with the decline of its fertility. Irrigation 
has become impossible where irrigation once existed. 


Both Balkh and Mazar-i-Sharif possess considerable strate- 
gical importance from the fact that they dominate all com- 
munication between Kunduz (or Badakshan) and Kabul, as 
well as those lines of approach which lead southward from 
the ferries and crossings of the Oxus at Kilif. 

From the eastern end of Lake Victoria (where now 
stands the pillar which denotes the introduction of scientific 
methods of geographical analysis into High Asia, and the 
junction of Indian and Russian surveys) an irregular line 
of pillar demarcation extending eastwards for about 90 
miles brings the Russo-Afghan boundary to a trijunction 
with China amidst a scene of such mountain grandeur as the 
world can but seldom present. Here the three empires 
professedly meet. In order to render the geographical 
relations of India with Russia and China clear it will 
be as well to give a slight sketch of the central lines of 
these stupendous mountain formations which distinguish 
the " world's roof." 

Between the vast elevated plateau of the Pamirs 
on one hand and the comparatively low level of the 
plains of Chinese Turkestan on the other, there exists 
an imposing mountain barrier (which we now call 
Sarikol), which assumes a meridional form where it 
bounds the eastern limits of the Pamirs. This barrier 
has been known in history either as the Taurus of 
classic literature, or as the Bolor Mountains of mediaeval 
writers. It is divided into two distinct and approximately 
parallel chains, the westernmost of which is the true 
watershed between the Oxus and the Pacific, and the 
eastern, now known in our maps as the " Kashgar " range 
(through which the drainage of the western watershed 
forces its exit to the plains), is capped and pinnacled by 
the highest mountain-peaks of Asia north of the Himalayas. 
This eastern range, which is really subsidiary to the true 
watershed, far out-tops and dwarfs the western. It is here 
that the Muztagh Ata of Sven Hedin, 23,000 feet above sea- 
level, rears its white dome and pinnacles to the sky ; and 
there are several other peaks but very little inferior to 
Muztagh Ata in altitude. 


At its southern extremity (after circling round the 
head of the Tagdumbash Pamir, which diverts it from its 
meridional strike) the Sarikol system unites with the giant 
chain of Muztagh on the east, separating China from the 
sphere of Indian influence, and merges into the Hindu 
Kush range on the west. The axis of the Hindu Kush 
now becomes the Afghan boundary, which, striking off in 
a westerly direction, and separating the head waters of 
the Oxus from those of the Indus, follows an uneven trend 
for about 100 miles to a point where it overlooks Kala 
Panja on the Upper Oxus. Thence the main range changes 
its general direction to south-west, and for 300 miles 
more follows a much indented and most irregular course 
to the neighbourhood of Bamian, where it terminates in 
the Koh-i-Baba mountain system. Thus the Hindu Kush 
mountain chain (so called from the fact that a Hindu force 
was lost in the attempt to cross into Turkestan by a pass 
north of Kabul, now known as the Hindu Kush, or 
"dead Hindu" — also known as the Kaoshan), has a total 
length of about 400 miles, and throughout this distance 
forms the main watershed between the Oxus and the 
Indus. It is riddled with passes, the altitude of which 
varies between 12,500 and 19,000 feet, but it is a re- 
markable fact that this gigantic watershed, cradled amongst 
the highest mountains of the world, claims but one single 
peak of special prominence. The Sad Istragh (overlooking 
the Panja River) is, as far as we know, the highest on the 
watershed. Its summit is 24,170 feet above sea-level. 
But this is comparatively insignificant when compared to 
the magnificent array of snow-capped sentinels which 
guard the upper reaches of the Indus tributaries on the 
great spurs which are thrown off southwards. Although 
not much higher than Sad Istragh (Tirach Mir, overlook- 
ing Chitral is 25,400, and Rakapushi, between Hunza and 
Gilgit, 25,500 feet), they form by their comparative isola- 
tion and relative altitude to surrounding peaks and ridges, 
as well as by the grandeur of their outlines, a group of 
such magnificence as is only to be found again around 
Everest on the north-east frontier of India. The main axis 



of the Hindu Kush presents the aspect of a flattish-backed 
watershed (often falling to less than 17,000 feet above 
sea-level) with a surface scored by glaciers and indented 
by lakes, which have been found wherever its highest 
ridges have been explored. There is no continuous central 
line of water parting such as is common to its spurs, 
and in this particular it is not so perfect a natural bound- 
ary as would be offered by a more definite mountain 

From the point where the Sarikol dividing barrier 
between Russia and China touches the Hindu Kush at its 
junction with the great Muztagh barrier between India 
and China, it becomes the southern boundary of Afghan- 
istan, which territory lies between it on the south and the 
upper tributaries of the Oxus (or Panja) River on the 
north. Afghanistan thus stretches out a long arm to the 
north-east from Badakshan, touching China at its farthest 
eastern extremity, and preserving a narrow " buffer " 
between Russia and India. This long arm is the Afghan 
province of Wakhan, and it is worthy of note that at the 
point where the Hindu Kush overlooks Kala Panja on the 
Oxus, the northern spurs which comprise the full width of 
Afghanistan intervening between Russia and India are 
something less than ten miles in length, from summit to 

Before leaving the Pamir regions (to which we shall 
not again revert) to trace the Afghan boundary south- 
wards a few words may be added about the source of the 
Oxus. Many and various are the initial sources which 
have been assigned by different authorities to this historic 
river ; but (as often happens) the clearer light derived 
from detailed survey proves them all to be more or less 
incorrect. First in the historical list was Lake Victoria 
(Wood's Lake), which lies near the head of the Great Pamir 
drainage. Next perhaps in importance is Lake Chak- 
maktin, the lake of the Little Pamir, whence flows the 
Aksu or Murghab River by a long and devious course to 
the main stream of the Oxus. This is undoubtedly the 
longest, if not the chief, tributary. Then we heard of the 




Southern Wakhan tributary as claiming precedence from 
the fact of its draining the highest mountain basin and 
originating in the most stupendous glaciers. But it was 
found that Lake Victoria is not in itself a source, any more 
than is Lake Chakmaktin. Both lakes are but incidents 
in the course of glacier- fed streams 1 which derive their 

Fig. 2i.— The Sources of the Oxus. 

sources from above these lakes, and in the case of Lake 
Victoria, at least, form a subsidiary chain of lakes draining 
from higher altitudes. Chakmaktin was originally re- 
ported to possess a double outlet, east and west, and the 
report finally was proved to be nearer the truth than its 
subsequent contradiction. The main glacier torrent which 
passes through Chakmaktin actually divides in the swamps 
to the west of the lake, and part of it passes to the east to 

1 Themselves but the remains of ancient glaciers. 


the Aksu, and part to the west down the Ab-i-Panja. Thus 
the glacier, or the great bed of glaciers and snowfields 
which feeds the Aksu, feed also this northern affluent of 
the Wakhan ; and the same gigantic but indefinite snow- 
capped watershed of the Nicolas range which forms the 
glacial sources of the Aksu and Wakhan on the one side, 
forms those of Lake Victoria on the other. So that the 
glaciers of the Nicolas range in about East longitude 
74, become the sources of the main affluents of the 
Oxus, excepting the southern head of the Wakhan. 
Whether the glaciers of Nicolas or those at the head 
of the southern affluent of the Wakhan are the mightiest, 
is another question. It is one which, at any rate, cannot 
be decided by a comparative estimate of the capacity of 
the various channels through which the glacial streams 
work their way to the great river. 

From about the longitude of Kala Panja, where Afghan 
territory narrows to about ten miles of width, the boundary 
bends south-west, and still following the axis of the Hindu 
Kush, runs for nearly another hundred miles to the Dorah 
Pass, leading from Ishkashim in Badakshan to Chitral. It 
is in this section of its length that the highest peaks are 
found, and even beyond this section, southwards from the 
Dorah, where a long spur defines the boundary for another 
fifty or sixty miles. Parting the Chitral River from an 
important affluent called the Arnawai or Bashgol, in Eastern 
Afghanistan, we have as magnificent a natural barrier on 
the north-west frontier of Kashmir as can be found in 
the width of the Himalaya. It is true that between the 
trijunction of the three boundaries of Russia, China, and 
India, to the junction of the Bashgol River of Kafiristan with 
the river of Chitral, two principal passes cross the Hindu 
Kush, besides several of minor importance. These two are 
the Baroghel (12,500 feet) and the Dorah (14,800 feet), and 
one of them (the Baroghel) presents no great obstacle for 
some six months of the year when not under deep snow ; but 
the difficulties to passage presented by the routes in which 
these passes are incident is not to be measured by the 
altitude of the passes themselves, or by their own inherent 



ruggedness. The great barrier of the Hindu Kush, from 
the point where it springs from the Himalayan system to 
the east buttress of that spur which hangs over the deep 
channel of the Chitral torrent, will never be broken in 
menace to India, unless the breaking of it is rendered 
possible by the construction of roads where none at 
present exist. 

Near the junction of the Bashgol and Chitral rivers the 
boundary of Afghanistan crosses the united streams and 
follows a subsidiary, but prominent, spur from the river 
banks to the water parting that hedges in the Chitral 

Fig. 22. — Routes on the Northern Frontier. 

Valley on the east, and separates it from the territories 
of Dir and Bajaor. Once again it finds expression in a 
fine natural landmark, which, extending south-west towards 
the Kabul Valley, presents all the requirements of a good 
frontier line. Across this line there are passes in plenty, 
and one or two of them are of historical importance, for 
they are links in the chain of ancient communication 
between Kabul and India. Former invaders of India 
who based their operations on Kabul (and there have 
been many of them, from the Greek Alexander to the 
Turk Babar) preferred this line to the Khaibar, and 
invariably prefaced the advance on Delhi by the pre- 


liminary subjugation of Bajaor and Swat, which lay on 
the flank of their advance. The passes connecting the 
Kunar Valley with Bajaor have, however, never been 
crossed by a British force. Leaving the watershed at 
a prominent point overlooking the ancient town of 
Kunar, the boundary follows an irregular and unde- 
marcated line through Mohmand territory, and across 
the Kabul River, till it touches the Khaibar route near 
our advanced post at Lundi Kotal. Here, then, Afghani- 
stan and British India actually touch. From Lundi 
Kotal the boundary next rises to the summit of the 
Safed Koh range (overlooking the Afridi Tirah), and 





JManglaor >-J. 


Fig. 23.— Mediaeval Routes from Peshawur to Kabul. 

passes along the watershed of this grand array of 
mountain-peaks till it drops to mark another junction 
between Afghanistan and British India at the Peiwar 
Kotal, on the Kuram route to Kabul. Cutting across 
the head of the Kuram, it defines the southern watershed 
of the river for some distance before reaching out across its 
Kaitu affluent to the well-defined frontier peak of Laram. 
Across the head of the Tochi River, and round the 
western border of Waziristan to Domandi on the Gomal, 
where Afghanistan ends and Baluchistan begins, we need 
hardly follow it in detail. 

The principal feature to be noted about this boundary 
from the Pamirs to the Gomal is that it is the boundary 
of Afghanistan, and not that of India. Between it and 


the Indian frontier (the old frontier of Sikh supremacy, 
which we inherited with the conquest of the Punjab) 
is a subsidiary buffer of independent tribes occupying 
an intermediate province which may be divided into 
several sections. On the extreme north are those out- 
lying districts tributary to Kashmir (Chitral, Gilgit, 
&c.) in which we have lately taken much political 
interest. South of these, and between them and the 
Kabul River, is Bajaor and the Mohmand country. 
The Khaibar route falls between the Mohmands and 
the Afridis. We hold it as far as Lundi Kotal now, 
but it was lately in the hands of the Afridis, who occupy 
the Tirah country on the southern slopes of the Safed 
Koh, and, together with a number of less important 
tribes of various origin and troublesome names, spread 
between the Khaibar and the Kuram. Almost imme- 
diately south of the Kuram, and covering the head of 
the Tochi, we have the Waziris of Waziristan, who con- 
tinue the occupation of this intermediate province to 
the Gonial River. Beyond these again are the Pathan 
inhabitants of the Sulimani Mountains, which we have 
already referred to in connection with Baluchistan. This 
long narrow frontier buffer is a province of rugged tracts 
and impassable mountains from one end to the other ; and 
from Chitral to the division between Pathan and Baluch in 
Peshin, near Quetta, it is the habitat of Pathan tribes, 
who, whatever their origin (whether Afghan, Indian, or 
Skythic), all talk a common language, although they 
claim no sort of international cohesion or affinity. The 
ancient name for a large part of this border district 
was Roh (a name of Sanscrit origin, which, like Koh, 
means a mountain), and it will be convenient to recog- 
nise it under this name and to denote its inhabitants as 
Rohilla, the name under which they were known in 
mediaeval ages. The Rohillas of Rohilkand are but an 
offshoot of the more ancient Pathans of Roh. Through 
this province of Roh pass all the most important lines 
of communication between India and Afghanistan, and it 
will be best to note them in order from north to south. 



Every military expedition of consequence which has 
been directed against India, with Peshawur as the first 
objective and Lahore and Delhi as the ultimate aim 
of invasion, has been, so far as history can tell us, 
directed either from Kabul or Ghazni ; and it may be 
safely assumed that no comprehensive scheme for the 
conquest of India by land invasion could possibly over- 
look the lessons contained in the past records and leave 
this line unoccupied or unguarded. The position of 
Kabul in the geography of Afghanistan assures its con- 
tinuance as a great centre of Asiatic trade quite as 


ioo Miles 

Fig. 24.— The Khaibar Route to Kabul. 

much as it defines a point of strategic value ; so that of 
all the many routes which cross our frontier and lead 
from High Asia to the plains of the Indian continent that 
which connects Kabul with the ancient Afghan city of 
Peshawur (now our chief military outpost on the north- 
west) is by far the most important. A natural inference 
to draw from a look at the map of Afghanistan would be 
that the Kabul River valley would itself offer the best 
possible line along which to direct a great trade or 
military road between Kabul and Peshawur, but the Kabul 
River valley forms a remarkable exception to a general 
rule. Of the 170 miles of military road which separates 
the two cities, about 50 only follow the Kabul stream, 



and within the limits of those 50 the actual banks of 
the river are seldom approached. Travelling from 
Peshawur westwards, the course of the river is left far 
to the north. It is here that it forms a curve, or loop, 
extending into the mountain districts occupied by the 
Mohmands, all of which is hidden amidst the declivities 
of such a series of rugged and impassable defiles that 
nothing short of an engineering process of great com- 
plexity and difficulty could carve out a practicable route 
for wheels along its banks. Passing into the Khaibar, 
a few miles west of the little frontier fortress of Jamrud, 
the traveller is conducted over an excellent road passing 
under the shadow of the hill fortress of Ali Masjid, until, 
crossing a small subsidiary watershed at Lundi Kotal 
(3600 feet), it touches the limits of our frontier near 
Lundi Khana. So far we hold a narrow line passing 
through independent territory, steeply enclosed (for the 
most part) by lofty mountains inhabited by Afridi and 
Afghan Pathans who overlook and dominate the road ; 
the former of whom have hitherto enjoyed the un- 
divided responsibility of keeping it open for traffic both 
in the trade interests of Afghanistan and the military 
interests of India. At Lundi Khana (or very close thereto) 
the territories of the Amir and those of British India 
actually meet ; and dropping down from the pass (or 
Kotal) to Dakka, the route passes into Afghanistan. The 
road is a good and sound highway, and so continues to 
Kabul ; for it is to the interests of the Amir that the old 
line of communication of the Afghan war of 1878-79 
should be maintained in fair order, and the Amir is ever 
ready to recognise the paramount importance of trade 
interests to his impoverished country. From Dakka to 
Jalalabad the road traverses the comparatively open 
plains which lie at the foot of the northern slopes of the 
great lateral range of Safed Koh, and here and there 
touches the banks of the Kabul River, but from a little 
beyond Jalalabad, at which point the Kabul and the 
Kunar (the river of Chitral) unite, the road again diverges, 
leaving the Kabul River to water the Laghman plains to 


the north, and follows the banks of an affluent called the 
Surkhab, through the district of Ningrahar, to the historic 
pass of Pezwan. From Pezwan to the edge of the Kabul 
plain at Butkak, the road becomes involved among the 
intricacies of a mass of hills formed by the lower spurs 
thrown off from the western abutment of the Safed Koh. 
Through these hills there is more than one road to Kabul. 
It is near this point that the terrible defile of Jagdalak (so 
fatal to us in 1843) occurs, but an alternative route now 
traverses the plains above the defile leading directly to 
the Lataband Pass and to Butkak. The road between 
Lataband and Butkak runs parallel to the rivers at no 
great distance south of it, for here a stupendous gorge 
encloses the torrent in its course from the elevated plain 
of Kabul (7000 feet) to the plain of Laghman (3000 feet). 
From the edge of the cliffs above this gorge it is barely 
possible to watch the rush of the waters below. Between 
this gorge at Butkak and the open plains of Laghman the 
river falls some 4000 feet, passing through a succession 
of defiles that have hitherto effectually barred the way to 
road-making. The route just described is that known 
to us so familiarly as the Khaibar, a name which was 
originally adopted from a comparatively insignificant pass 
near Dakka, and is now applied to the whole road from 
Kabul to its debouchment opposite Jamrud into the plains 
of India. This was not, however, the route which was 
adopted for commercial or for military purposes formerly. 
The valley of Ningrahar was left to the south, and the 
Kabul River itself shaped the line through the Laghman 
(or Lamgan) plains more directly to a point at the eastern 
limits of those plains, where it passed by easy gradients 
into the Kunar Valley, and so, over the low watershed on 
its eastern banks, into Bajaor and Swat. The Khaibar 
route, or rather the Khaibar combination of routes, has ^ 
always been, and must ever be, the most important of all 
lines of approach to the north-west frontier of India. It 
has figured in history from the remotest ages as the 
golden gateway to the wealth of the plains. Through it 
have passed not only those military invasions which have 

7 6 


changed the destinies and dynasties of India, but it is 
through this channel that many tides of humanity have 
surged from age to age, which, rising in the recesses of 
Tartary and Mongolia, have swept southwards to repeople 
the land of the sun. Military invasions have passed into 
India by other routes ; and the southern borderland, as 
well as the northern, has witnessed many irruptive human 
tides, but none have possessed such influence in shaping 
out the destinies of this great continent in the past, and 
none are so likely to prove of paramount importance in 
the future. 

Next to the Khaibar, and separated from it by the 
Safed Koh range and its subsidiary spurs and offshoots 
(enclosed amongst which are the Afridis of Tirah, the 
Orakzais, Turis, and many other Pathan Rohilla tribes), 

is the Kuram Pass. Here again 
we traverse the full width of 
that independent frontier pro- 
vince which we call Roh, and 
meet the Afghan on his own 
border at the Peiwar Kotal. 
Just as Peshawur forms the base 
or starting point in India for the 
Khaibar route to Kabul, so does 
Kohat stand as the base for the 
Kuram line of route to the same 

Between Peshawur and Ko- 
hat there is a connecting highroad which is the first 
link in a long line of communication passing down the 
frontier beyond Kohat, parallel to the line of the Pathan 
hills, and linking up all the frontier stations between Kohat 
and the Sind border. It connects Bannu (or Edwardes- 
abad), Dera Ismail Khan, and Dera Ghazi Khan with the 
north. The frontier province traversed by this road border- 
ing the Indus, and lying between that river and the hills, is 
usually termed the Derajat. Between Peshawur and Kohat, 
however, this most important military road does not run 
parallel to the Indian frontier as denned by the old Sikh 

so Miles 

Fig. 25. — Peshawur to Kohat. 


boundary (which is still the boundary of British India), be- 
cause of an extension of the hill formation eastwards towards 
the Indus, which crosses the line of connection almost at 
right angles midway between the two places. Round the 
base of this extension the British India frontier line was 
drawn in conformity with its general frontier elsewhere at 
the base of the hills (i.e. the farthest limit of cultivable soil) 
when laid down by our Sikh predecessors in the Punjab. 
Across this salient extension of the frontier mountains the 
road from Peshawur to Kohat is carried, and thus a con- 
siderable section of it lies within the limits of independent 
territory, and we are ourselves dependent on the goodwill 
of the Jowaki occupants of these hills for the maintenance 
of our right of way. This is, however, no more or less 
than happens in the case of every route to Afghanistan 
which crosses the independent hills. 

From Kohat (which lies under the southern slopes of 
this Jowaki hill extension) the highway to Kuram runs first 
upwards through the lower Miranzai valley, and then, 
crossing a flat water-parting, drops with a continuance 
of its south-westerly trend to the base of the Kuram 
Valley, following the course of the upper Miranzai. This 
Miranzai route from Kohat to Kuram lies altogether 
under the shadow of the Orakzai and Afridi hills, and is 
dominated through a great part of its length by the 
Samana range — a range which defines the shape of the 
valley on the north, and thus renders the occupation of it 
a necessary corollary to our retention of Kuram. The 
Kuram Valley itself offers no such topographical difficul- 
ties to advance as does the Khaibar. It is an open and 
well-populated valley, full of the ancient sites of towns, 
showing it to have been a valuable asset to Afghanistan 
in times past ; and it is not until the head of it is 
approached near the Peiwar Pass that it thrusts itself into 
the deep gorges of a mountain valley. 

Before this happens, however, the road leaves the 
river and passes under the upper ridges of the Safed Koh 
(from the heights of which one may look down on the 
Khaibar route northward and that of Kuram to the south) 



and continues at a high level till it dips again into the 
valley of the Logar leading northward to Kabul. In this 
interval it surmounts the Peiwar Pass (9200 feet) and the 


7? a ilirays 

Fig. 26 — The Frontier Railways. 

Shutargardan (11,900 feet); both of them passes over 
southern spurs of the Safed Koh, which range culminates 
above the Peiwar in a gigantic peak 15,600 feet above sea- 
level. Along the reaches of the Logar, and through the 


gap in the encircling hills of Kabul, which occurs near 
Charasia, we need follow it no farther. It turns the 
western extremity of the Safed Koh, and passes over the 
high level of the Afghan plateau, never dropping again 
to a level much below 7000 feet above sea-level. 

At the point where it debouches on to the Logar plains, 
it is about equidistant from Kabul and from Ghazni, and 
between neither of these important centres of Afghan 
political authority is there any great physical obstacle 
to be encountered. The great altitude of the Shutar- 
gardan Pass alone renders it a barrier to Afghan trade 
with India. 

The next gateway of importance between Afghani- 
stan and India is afforded by the Tochi Valley, which is 
based on the frontier station of Bannu or Edwardesabad. 
The Tochi River is an affluent of the Kuram, which it joins 
not very far from their united junction with the Indus. 
It takes its rise in the western slopes of the Waziristan 
mountains, and the Pathan people who occupy this moun- 
tain district (called Waziris or Wazirs) intervene as an 
independent barrier between Afghanistan and India in 
continuation of the Roh province which has been inter- 
sected by our occupation of the Kuram Valley. 

Formerly, no doubt, the Tochi formed the shortest 
connecting link between the capital of Afghanistan, once 
centred at Ghazni, and those plains of India from whence 
the material financial support of the unstable kingdom of 
Afghanistan has ever been derived. It was down this 
pass (according to all local tradition) that Mahmud of 
Ghazni used occasionally to sweep when Multan and 
Sind rather than Peshawur and the Punjab were his 
immediate objective, followed by hordes of irregular 
horsemen (undeserving the name of cavalry), and vast 
companies of Pathan freebooters who played the jackal to 
his leading, during a series of raids which lasted through 
the opening decades of the eleventh century. It is not, 
and it never has been, a great trade route, and it is, in 
part at least, still one of those unravelled knots in 
frontier geography which require further investigation 


before its exact position in the scale of importance 
amongst north-western gateways can be determined. 

Up to the lately demarcated frontier of Afghanistan 
the Tochi is a fairly wide and well-cultivated valley, with 
a gradual but not excessive gradient, rising towards the 
comparatively narrow band of stiff and rugged mountain 
ridges (reaching to 12,000 feet in altitude) which intervene 
between the cultivated tracts of Sherannia and the uneven 
plateau which lies eastward and southward of Ghazni. Its 
importance to us is chiefly strategical, for it dominates the 
ever-restless confederation of Waziri clans to the south, 
who will never cease from troubling until they find them- 
selves permanently outflanked. Between Ghazni and our 
advanced posts in Kuram and on the Tochi the direct 
distance does not differ largely from that between Kabul 
and our advanced post on the Khaibar ; one hundred and 
twenty miles would cover either of them. The actual 
distance of intervening route would, of course, largely 
exceed this direct measurement. 

South of the Waziri Switzerland, and dividing it from 
the northern buttresses of the great Sulimani system of 
Baluchistan, is the Gomal River, affording yet another 
great open highway to the Afghan plateau. The Gomal 
route is the oldest of all trade routes. Down it there 
yearly pours a succession of Khafilas led and followed by 
thousands of well-armed Pathan traders (called Povindahs) 
from the plains of Afghanistan to India. The Povindahs 
mostly belong to the Ghilzai tribes, and are not therefore 
true Afghans. Leaving their women and children en- 
camped within British territory on our border, and their 
arms in the keeping of our frontier political officials, the 
Povindah makes his way southwards with his camel-loads 
of fruit and silk, bales of camel and goat hair or sheep- 
skin goods, carpets and other merchandise from Kabul 
and Bokhara, and conveys himself through the length and 
breadth of the Indian peninsula. He may be met with 
in the extreme south of Madras, or on the westernmost 
edge of the western coast, but the Ghilzai Povindah does 
not leave the shores of India. He returns yearly to the 


cool summits of the Afghan hills and the open grassy 
plains, where his countless flocks of sheep and camels are 
scattered for the summer grazing. He leaves it to the 
Pathan Kakur of the Baluch highlands to travel seawards 
to Australia or South Africa as camel driver or contractor, 
and there to make himself objectionable in out-of-the-way 
settlements by his truculent behaviour. The point at which 
the Afghan frontier crosses the Gomal is called Domandi, 
and it is north of this, on the upper tributaries of a com- 
paratively small affluent which here joins the Gomal, that 
those plains of Wana are situated which have lately 
attracted attention in political and military annals. 

Wana commands the western slopes of Waziristan, and 
overlooks the upper course of the Gomal, which is here 
still confined in the narrow waterways of a mountain 
region, whilst from its northern watershed one may 
look down the valleys of Birmul and Shawal formed by 
the head affluents of the Tochi River. The Tochi thus 
encircles the main peaks of the Waziristan mountains, 
which tower above these valleys to a height of 11,500 feet 
above sea-level. 

It is impossible to enter into any detailed description 
of such immense variety of scenery as is to be found on 
the Pathan frontier in immediate connection with those 
main routes which we have already indicated as forming 
the chief highways into Northern India ; but amongst the 
minor valleys Birmul perhaps takes precedence by right 
of its natural beauty. Here are stretches of park-like 
scenery where grass-covered slopes are dotted with clumps 
of deodar and pine and intersected with rivulets hidden 
in banks of fern ; soft green glades open out to view from 
every turn in the folds of the hills, and above them the 
silent watch-towers of Pirghal and Shuidar, the western 
guardians of Waziristan, look down from their snow-clad 
heights across the Afghan uplands to the hills beyond 
Ghazni. Not even the rugged limestone cliffs of the 
Kaisargarh, chief amongst the Sulimani peaks, backed by 
the forest of chilghosa pine which clings to its crest, 
and split to its foundations by waterways which intersect 



its terrific spurs and buttresses, can rival the softer beauty 
of those western slopes of the Waziri mountains. But 
such scenery as the heights of Kaisargarh or the valley 
of Birmul may present is unusual on the Indian frontier 
south of Peshawur. The official who passes an uneasy 
life amongst the Pathan tribes of the frontier has not 
much to say about the beauties of Nature as a general 
rule. Natural landscape beauty, indeed, may here be 
measured to a certain extent by altitude. The low ranges 
of sun-scorched, blackened ridge-and-furrow formation 
which form the approaches to the higher altitudes of the 
Afghan upland, and which are almost as regularly laid 
out by the hand of Nature in some parts of the frontier as 
are the parallels and approaches of the attack under the 
superintendence of the engineer who is besieging a fortress 
— these are by no means ci things of beauty," and it is this 
class of formation and this form of barren desolation that 
is most familiar to the frontier officer. It is true that the 
strata of clays and silts which overlie the salt formations 
found in certain sections of the lower hills of the frontier 
are distinguished by shades and tints of colour that are 
as varied as the coloured sands on the southern coast of 
England. But shades of delicate purple and grey will not 
make up for the absence of the living green of vegetation ; 
and the fantastic outlines assumed by disintegrating masses 
of conglomerate schist is frequently impressive only from 
its weird and outrageous defiance of all the rules of 
Ruskin in relation to lines of landscape beauty. But with 
higher altitudes a cooler climate and snow-fed soil is found, 
and as soon as vegetation grasps a root-hold there is the 
beginning of fine scenery. The upper pine-covered slopes 
of the Safed Koh are as picturesque as those of the Swiss 
Alps ; they are capped and crowned by peaks whose wind- 
swept altitudes are frozen beyond the possibility of vegeta- 
tion, and are usually covered with snow wherever snow 
can lie. In Waziristan, hidden away in the high recesses 
of its great mountains, are many valleys of great natural 
beauty, where we find the spreading poplar and the ilex 
in all the robust growth of an indigenous flora. Waziristan 


is, indeed, a miniature frontier Switzerland. South of the 
Gomal, and beyond the striking scenery of such mountain 
masses as Kaisargarh, we find in the uplands, above the 
line of the barren border ridges, softer spaces of rounded 
outline, where the long sweeping spurs of subsidiary hills 
are covered with forests of the wild olive tree, which 
here attains to an enormous size, and forms as distinctive 
a landscape feature between Fort Sandeman and the 
western slopes of the Sulimanis as in Southern Italy. 
Farther south again, in the hills that circle about the 
head of the Peshin Valley, at still higher altitudes (8000 
feet or thereabouts), are forests of juniper. Here the 
ragged growth of twisted and knotted trees presents a 
fresh characteristic of weird scenery such as is probably 
not to be matched in all India. Ziarat, the hill station 
of Quetta, which lies on the slopes of Kalifat (the highest 
mountain of Baluchistan), is surrounded with juniper 

On the grandeur of those approaches to the heights 
of Baluchistan and Afghanistan which are carved out of 
the hills by water-channels forming gigantic rifts (such 
as the w r ell-known Chappar rift on the Harnai line of 
railway) there is no space to dilate. Familiarity with 
them can only breed a growing wonder at the tenacity 
of those primeval waterways which, through an im- 
measurable past, have ever retained their original course. 

Passing on to the elevated plateau or uplands of 
Afghanistan (averaging 6000 feet towards the north, and 
falling to 4000 feet above sea-level as it approaches the 
boundary of Baluchistan on the south-west — the "hinter- 
land " of the Indian frontier lying within that boundary), 
we have to add a few general notes on its geographical 
conformation, its ethnography, and its possibilities of 
economic and strategic development. 

Afghanistan is a political expression denoting the terri- 
tory ruled over by the Amir of Kabul. It is not (neces- 
sarily) the land of the Afghan, for the Afghan extends 
his occupation over districts which are beyond the 
Amir's control. Neither do the Afghans occupy Afghani- 


stan exclusively. The Afghan represents the ruling race 
amongst a mixed agglomeration of tribes of varied Asiatic 
nationalities who divide the country between them. The 
Afghan speaks of his own country as Khorasan, and he 
distinguishes himself as Durani — or Ben-i-Israel — leaving 
the name " Afghan " to be applied to him by foreigners, 
i.e. by the majority of the inhabitants of Afghanistan. 
The plateau of Afghanistan is rough and uneven, and it is 
scored with mountain ranges. These, again, are inter- 
sected by valleys, elevated and narrow in the Kohistan 
(the hill districts) of the north, but which widen out into 
broad areas towards Kandahar and Herat on the south 
and west, forming the wide " dasht " so familiar to the 
records of our Afghan campaigns. Chief amongst these 
ranges are the Hindu Kush, itself but the northern section 
of that great trans-continental watershed, which extends 
from the Himalayas of the Pamirs across Afghanistan and 
Persia to the Caspian. 

From its Himalayan origin to the Dorah Pass (con- 
necting Badakshan with the Chitral river basin) the Hindu 
Kush range has been sufficiently described as the boundary 
of Afghanistan. From the Dorah, westward and south- 
ward, till lost in the hills of the Koh-i-Baba, south-west of 
Kabul, it is the northern bulwark of the Kabul province. 
From its geographical axis great snow-fed tributaries de- 
scend through the unmapped maze of Kafiristan and the 
more open valleys that lie west of Kafiristan, to the Kabul 
river, forming almost without exception the only prac- 
ticable lines of approach through the otherwise impassable 
mountains of Kohistan and Kafiristan. 

Somewhere amongst the snow-bound fastnesses of the 
higher peaks of Kafiristan the Hindu Kush loses its flat- 
backed formation, and develops into a double system of 
parallel ranges, forming two long narrow lateral valleys 
which, draining from opposite directions to a junction, 
eventually find an outlet through the southernmost ridge 
to the broken plains of the Koh Daman (the u skirts of the 
mountains") north of Kabul. These two valleys are the 
Panjshir and the Ghorband respectively, whose waters 



unite at Charikar to form the chief head tributary of the 
Kabul River. 

Thus Charikar becomes practically the guardian 
fortress of all passes which cross from Turkestan into the 
valleys of the Panjshir or Ghorband, and these passes are 
many and important. The Khawak, at the head of the 
Panjshir (1 1,600 feet), is now a well-known and much- 

Fig. 27. — Routes from Kabul over the Hindu Kush. 

traversed trade route with Turkestan. It is said to be 
kept free from snow during the winter months by a syste- 
matic process of clearing ; posts of workmen being estab- 
lished at intervals for this express purpose ; and thus it is 
maintained open to Khafila traffic all the year round. Not 
less energy has been shown by the late Amir in opening 
up another great trade route crossing the main watershed 
of the Hindu Kush at Chahardar (13,900 feet), and drop- 
ping southwards into the Ghorband Valley. This was the 


route followed by the Russo-Afghan Boundary Commis- 
sion party on its return from Turkestan to Kabul in 1886, 
and it has since been developed into a highroad ; but the 
Chahardar Pass is too elevated to be always practicable in 
the winter months. Curiously enough it was neither of 
these two passes, but one intermediate, called the Kaoshan, 
or Hindu Kush (14,300 feet) (the name of which was sub- 
sequently transferred to the whole mountain range), which 
has been the recognised gateway through all ages from 
High Asia into Kabul and India. It was well known to 
the Greeks, and Alexander made use of it, assisted no 
doubt by Ky'renian emigrants who were already colonising 
Andarab in Badakshan. Long before the time of the 
Greek it was the pass utilised by the inrushing hordes of 
Aryans, Skyths, Goths, Turks, and Mongols, who have 
overwhelmed Kabul from time immemorial, and who 
finally peopled India. It is, indeed, the highway of history 
from High Asia to India. Even those mighty bands of 
emigrants, who started from the north of China to discover 
a more congenial home in the south, appear to have 
passed westwards to this entrance, finding no way across 
the Hindu Kush and its great offshoots farther east. 

But the great altitude of the Kaoshan renders it liable 
to interruption for many months in the year, and the 
natural difficulties of other passes of less altitude having 
been overcome by artificial means, this historical pass 
will in future rank low in the scale of practicable gate- 
ways to the plains of Kabul. Another historical crossing 
of the main watershed between Turkestan and Afghanistan 
occurs west of Kabul, where the Kotal-i-Irak (13,500 feet) 
leads into the valley of Bamian, so celebrated for its rock- 
cut figures and other Buddhist relics ; but west of this we 
may search in vain for any open way southwards from 
the Oxus basin till we reach Herat ; for the Koh-i-Baba, 
the Band-i-Baian, and other ranges north of Herat, merg- 
ing into each other, form one continuous chain of elevated 
water parting, which, with the intricate system of subsidiary 
spurs thrown off northwards, present an effectual barrier 
to approach from the north. Thus, noting that the 


northern approaches to Afghanistan are entirely concen- 
trated on two important lines — i.e. those of Kabul and of 
Herat — we may leave that part of Afghanistan which forms 
the Oxus basin and turn to its southern provinces which 
form the basin of Helmund. 

The three great cities of Kabul, Kandahar, and 
Herat, each of which is the capital of a province and 
under a distinct local government, form the points of a 
triangle, of which the sides Kabul-Kandahar and Herat- 


B.h* "kP^ Kabul 

K oh ' «■** Ut#^-, /••'■" 

Fig. 28. — The Relative Positions of the three Chief Cities of Afghanistan. 

Kandahar are each equal to about 280 miles of direct dis- 
tance, and Herat to Kabul about 400 miles, the two cities 
being nearly on the same parallel of latitude. But if the 
direct distance is the same to Kandahar whether we start 
from Kabul or Herat, there is no comparison between the 
two routes in regard to the facility with which that distance 
may be traversed. From Herat to Kandahar there is 
indeed no- direct route across the intervening wilderness 
of Taimani hills occupied by the Hazara Mongols of the 
Chahar Aimak. As far as the ancient capital of Ghor there 
was, indeed, once in the days of long ago, a trade route 
which was well known and much frequented ; but it has 



passed into the stage of forgotten highways, and Ghor 
itself is now to be numbered only amongst the dead cities 
of Asia. It is hardly recognisable in the few broken ruins 
which lie amidst the desolate hills of this forsaken region. 
The Khafila route from Herat now passes southwards 
parallel to the Persian border to Farah, and thence 
reaches Kandahar by way of Girishk — a circuitous route 
of not less than 360 miles in length — a route which 

Fig. 29. — The Route from Herat to Kandahar. 

traverses wide spaces of sandy and waterless " dasht," and 
is flanked throughout by a region containing the fiercest 
and most fanatical tribes of the Afghan community. 
Nevertheless it taps all the best developed and most 
civilised centres of western Afghan trade. From Kabul 
to Kandahar, on the other hand, is a straight highroad 
hardly to be matched for excellence by any of the best 
roads in Europe of equal length. It passes through 
Ghazni — once also a capital of Afghanistan — a famous 
city of palaces and of fabulous wealth, the centre of all 


authority in the days of the great Mahmud, and the mili- 
tary base of innumerable incursions Indiawards. Nothing 
now is left of the glories of the past Ghazni but one or 
two minars standing erect in a wilderness of desolation, 
silent witnesses to the mutability of Afghan greatness. 
But the connecting road between Kabul on the one hand 
and Kandahar on the other (to which latter place it is 
linked by the rock fortress of Kalat-i-Ghilzai) is indestruct- 
ible from its geographical situation. It follows the main 
lines of central drainage, and the main strike of the hills 
which flank it on the north. 

Whilst Kabul, then, dominates all routes converging on 
India on the extreme north-west of the Punjab, it also 
dominates (more or less) those which gather in by Kanda- 
har and thence are directed towards the southern extremity 
of our western borderland. This, doubtless, is the reason 
why Kabul rather than Kandahar or Herat has held the 
keys of India's destiny so surely and so often during the 
countless ages of India's chequered history. 

The three ruling Afghan cities, Kabul, Herat, and 
Kandahar, differing largely in the conditions of their 
population and environment, are all much of the same 
construction. Each of them occupies approximately a 
square mile of enclosure, and is protected by an outside 
wall covering a citadel which overlooks and commands 
the city. The leading feature in each is a bazaar with 
four streets radiating from a central " Charsu " or market- 
place, covered in, and roofed for protection from sun and 
rain. The markets themselves are hardly to be distin- 
guished from most well-known Indian bazaars, and present 
the same apparently incongruous admixture of retail 
trade and manufacture ; the same busy, jostling activity 
in the street, and the same indolence in the flanking lines 
of open-fronted shops that we see in all Indian markets. 
Piles of magnificent fruit, including melons, apples, grapes, 
pomegranates, peaches, walnuts, and apricots are a distin- 
guishing feature in many of them. Work in copper, brass, 
and iron, earthenware and pottery shops, eating houses 
and tea shops ; silk goods from Bokhara, " numnahs " and 


carpets from Central Asia and Turkestan, " pushmina " and 
woollen materials of local manufacture, sheepskin rugs 
and coats (" postins "), with the usual establishment of 
butchers, bakers, tailors, and bootmakers are to be found 
in all. There is a fair trade also in Russian and English 
goods. In the year 1886 English piece goods predomi- 
nated in the Kabul market, where also Russian crockery 
ware was much in favour ; but the facilities afforded to 
Russian trade by railway development have acted largely 
in favour of Russia since then. On the other hand, a 
cosmopolitan taste for many of the luxuries of civilisation 
(including soap) has lately been introduced by the energy 
of the firm which is represented by an English manager 
at Kabul ; and the late Amir's own determined support of 
the economic developments of his capital has introduced 
so many modern improvements that a strong line of 
distinction must now be drawn between Kabul and her 
sister cities. In estimating the mutual value of the trade 
relations that exist between Afghanistan and India it must 
be remembered that the tide of trade sets almost entirely 
southward. Never since Afghanistan was a part of the 
Durani empire of Ahmad Shah has there been the 
opportunity that is afforded by long periods of peace for 
the development of the internal resources of the country 
sufficient to render it self-supporting. A large agricultural 
population has no doubt been able to subsist on the pro- 
duce of irrigated cultivation, for the soil of Afghanistan is 
fruitful and the climate kind, and the only requirement 
for good harvest is a fair supply of water and labour. 
But the periods of peace have been too short to admit of 
any large development of cultivation beyond the limits 
absolutely necessary for bare subsistence, so that the 
demands of the army, and the necessities of a hungry and 
turbulent nobility, have hitherto been met by periodic 
raids on India and appeals to the force of arms. 

Even now, after twenty years of fairly settled Govern- 
ment under the Amir Abdur Rahman, Afghanistan is but 
in her cradle of national economic development. She 
still looks to India for material support, and it is probable 


that her army could not be held together without liberal 
yearly contributions from India. Doubtless every year of 
peace makes greatly for the increase of her internal wealth 
and national growth, but the views of the Kabul Govern- 
ment, under Abdur Rahman, on the subject of revenue, 
taxes, and trade imports, have not been conducive to com- 
mercial development. The trade of Afghanistan, such as 
it is, sets southward rather than northward for the reason 
that the Central Asian States and districts north of Afghani- 
stan produce much the same marketable commodities that 
Afghanistan itself produces, and that they trade through 
Afghan territory to India. The heavy duties levied by the 
Amir's officials at frontier posts have forced a good deal of 
this Central Asian trade westward lately, so that carpets of 
Turkestan, for instance, find their way to the Quetta 
market through the ports of the Persian Gulf rather than 
through Kandahar and Chaman. Doubtless there is much 
unnecessary loss to the country through similar extortion 
on the northern routes ; but in spite of commercial stag- 
nation, the great fact still remains that the late Amir set 
himself to work with energy at the mastery of some, at 
least, of the first principles of national development. He 
has made roads, built bridges, erected buildings, and en- 
couraged irrigation, and he was, to the day of his death, 
busy in connecting the uttermost parts of his kingdom 
by passable roads through districts which have been 
hitherto regarded as impracticable. The question then 
arises whether Afghanistan can ever be rendered self- 
supporting and independent of India ; whether her army 
(which we cannot regard with indifference so long as it 
constitutes a fighting factor between British India and 
Russia) can be paid and fed by the country it is raised to 
serve ; whether Afghanistan could, to put it shortly, be 
rendered a financial success. Under a strong Govern- 
ment, and favoured by peace, there is little doubt that it 
might be so, although it is not in many directions that her 
capabilities for production could be largely extended. In 
the northern districts of Afghanistan, in the basin of 
the Oxus, in Badakshan and Turkestan, limited space for 



extended cultivation of the soil may probably be found, 
although it cannot be on any very large scale. The rich 
valley of Herat leaves no space for further irrigation 
projects. The margin of the Oxus is already cultivated to 

the very edge of the sand wastes that will eventually over- 
whelm it. The waters of these northern streams which 
are lost in the Oxus plains are already utilised to their 
fullest extent. The Pamirs offer no field for anything but 
the produce of intermittent grazing. The ancient king- 


dom of Bactria (Badakshan) may possibly possess, in its 
magnificent valleys and temperate climate, soil as yet un- 
redeemed from the wilderness which may prove to be as 
fruitful as that of Kashmir, but it is not probable that 
there is much of it. 

The basin of the Kabul River is already famous for 
its fruit. It would be difficult indeed to rival the rich 
cultivation of Koh Daman north of Kabul ; of the plains 
of Chardeh to the west ; or of the open valleys of the 
Logar to the south, where the eye may rest on miles of 
uninterrupted fields of wheat, broken only by patches of 
mulberry, walnuts, or apricot trees. But it would be 
difficult also to suggest to those most practical native 
engineers who have covered the country with a network 
of irrigation channels any method of improvement either 
in their system of utilising the water available, or in the 
development of the original supply. They run their rivers 
dry already. As for that portion of Kafiristan which falls 
within the Kabul basin, there are indeed hopes that here, 
at least, there may be fresh field for development. The 
oak forests and pines that clothe the mountain sides are of 
magnificent growth — there is no such wealth of forest 
anywhere else in Afghanistan. Here, too, are the " wild 
vine and the ivy," the pomegranate, and the fig-tree, all in 
a condition of primeval undevelopment. If the area for 
crop-growing is circumscribed by the steep mountain 
slopes, there is at least ample room for investigation 
beyond its present limits, and for the development of 
much material wealth amongst the hills themselves. 

Of the third great basin of Afghanistan — that of the 
Helmund — it is difficult to speak with certainty. The 
upper valleys that contribute to that river are unsurveyed 
in detail ; but we know enough about the wilderness of 
the Hazara Hills to be fairly certain that in those bleak, 
storm-swept and desolate altitudes there is little or no 
chance of agricultural development on any large scale. 
And this general view of the Hazara Hills extends itself to 
the Taimani plateau on its west, which drains, not into the 
Helmund, but into the great basin, or Hamun, which 


receives the Helmund. The Taimani country has indeed 
been fairly well explored, and it has been found to be 
worth but little to the agriculturist. Nearly all the wealth 
of Southern Afghanistan is concentrated about Kandahar. 
The valleys of the Argandab and Arghasan, and the teem- 
ing Zamindawar district contain all the best of Western 
Afghan soil, but in all of them there is little room for en- 
larging the borders of the cultivated land, so that we may 
say that (so far as our geographical researches can tell 
us) Afghanistan is already cultivated to nearly its fullest 
extent. We must look then rather to the possible mineral 
wealth of Afghanistan, and to its resources in silk, camel- 
hair clothing, and wool, and to the further development 
of its trade in horses, and possibly, too, in timber, for 
those financial returns which will enable the country to 
support itself and its own defences. A certain amount of 
mineral wealth is known at present to be concentrated 
in the mines of lapis-lazuli in Badakshan ; of copper in 
several places ; of tin in the Panshir Valley ; and of lead in 
Ghorband. Coal is to be found in Afghan Turkestan, and 
gold was once worked from quartz veins near Kandahar ; 
but this is not a very promising field in which to look for 
contributions to the Kabul treasury, and it is on the 
development of the commerce of the country with India 
that Afghanistan must chiefly depend for future financial 
advancement and final stability. 

Instead of long strings of slow moving camels, which 
even now may be counted by the score toiling along the 
road adjoining the line of the Quetta-Chaman railway — 
still adhering with obstinate persistency to the old-world 
tracks over the Khojak rather than give way to the pushing 
and impertinent railway that has already thrust itself to 
the edge of Afghanistan with its railhead pointing to 
Kandahar — an extension of that same railway to Kandahar 
is the first development needed. On the northern routes 
Kabul and Peshawur must also be connected by rail, and 
finally a far more direct and efficient linking up of the 
lateral routes between Peshawur and Quetta must be 
considered once again. With the impetus to the natural 



trade of the country which would be given by the 
removal of ridiculous imposts, and the introduction of 
facilities for transport, there is no reason why the 
Afghanistan of the future should not pay its own way, 
and even if it could never become the financial success 
that Egypt has been in our hands, at least it may cease 
to be a drain on the heavily-taxed resources of India. 

The ethnography of Afghanistan is a subject which 
cannot be altogether disregarded in dealing with the 

Fig. 31. — Northern Frontier — Tribal Distribution. 

origin of our Indian population. It is one of the very 
deepest interest, demanding a far wider knowledge of the 
ancient conditions of Central Asian occupation, and a 
more scholarly application of that knowledge than has 
ever yet been given to it. 

We have seen that the population of Baluchistan 
may be regarded in very general terms as ancient 
Persian overlaid by Arabic immigration. That of 
Afghanistan may similarly be reduced to an ancient 
Persian (or Tajak) stock overlaid by Afghan, Turk, 

9 6 INDIA 

and Mongolian invaders. The Tajak shows himself 
chiefly in the Kohistani districts north of Kabul and 
bordering Kafiristan, where he becomes dominant and 
aggressive in proportion as he is newly converted to 
the tenets of the Muhammadan faith. In the west 
of Afghanistan, though still prevalent, he is less pre- 
dominant, being there subordinate to the Afghan. He 
is the tiller of the soil, the "ghulam" or slave of the 
community. The blue-coated agriculturist, who with 
round felt hat and triangular spade cultivates the poppy 
beds about Herat, is a Tajak. The Tajak is indeed by 
ancestry closely allied to the normal Persian villager of 
the Khorasan, and he talks more or less the same language. 
His master, the Afghan, who calls himself Durani, claims 
descent from the " lost tribes," rejoices in the name of 
" Ben-i-Israel," and firmly believes himself to be of the 
seed of Abraham, of the chosen people of Jehovah. His 
traditions, his family names, his Semitic features, his 
civil code of unwritten law are all more or less Israelitish, 
and it is difficult to tell, if his traditions are false, how he 
came by all these evidences of their truth. On the other 
hand his language is Pushtu, an ancient tongue of 
Sanscrit origin showing no trace of Hebrew influence. 
And because his language is Pushtu, he claims a certain 
affinity in language and laws with the Pushtu tribes of 
the frontier, and acknowledges himself to be a Pathan — 
which means only that he talks the Pushtu language. 
The Afghan has gradually migrated and spread from his 
original seat in Southern Afghanistan to the north — to the 
Kabul Valley. As " Mohmand " and " Yusufzai " he has 
possessed himself of large tracts of country in Swat and 
those contiguous districts which are beyond the limits of 
what we now recognise as Afghanistan, so that there is 
direct affinity of race as well as language and traditions 
between the Afghans of Afghanistan and the Mohmands 
and Swatis of our independent border provinces. The 
Amir of Kabul is the priestly head of them all, and the 
defender of their faith. There is no real recognition of 
the Sultan of Turkey as their religious head. 


The Turkish element in the Afghan population is re- 
presented by Turkomans and Usbegs in the Oxus regions, 
and Ghilzais in Central Afghanistan. The Turkoman, 
once the terror of the peaceful country side throughout 
the Persian border and the open desert regions of the 
Oxus Valley, is gradually, under civilising influences, 
developing agricultural proclivities, and he now lives in 
peaceful relations with his neighbours, contenting himself 
with the stirring records of raids and robberies of no 
very ancient date. In common with the Usbeg (who 
has long since lost the fierce fighting qualities that he 
possessed in the days of Babar, the outcast prince of 
a Central Asian Khanate, who founded the Turk dynasty 
of India) the Turkoman talks Turki, a comparatively 
pure and very ancient language which is the basis of the 
bastard tongue of Constantinople ; differing in this 
particular, as in many physical characteristics, from those 
Turkish races south of the Hindu Kush and Koh-i-Baba 
who have enrolled themselves amongst Pathans and talk 
Pushtu. These southern tribes are called Ghilzai (or 
Khilje), and were introduced into Afghanistan within 
historic times. They form a very powerful confederation 
of tribes, second only to the Durani in power and in- 
fluence, and it is from the Ghilzai that the Durani 
dynasties of Kabul have ever experienced the most 
dangerous opposition. Those " povindahs," or Khafila 
leaders, who annually spread through India, and who 
are noted for their strength and magnificent physique, 
are mostly Ghilzais of the Nasir and Sulimani clans. 

The Mongol tribes of Afghanistan are represented by 
the Hazara people, whose origin in their present habitat 
(which is along the skirts of the northern slopes of the 
Hindu Kush west of Kafiristan, and that great central tract 
of elevated country which stretches between Kabul and 
Herat, and reaches south-westward toward the Helmund 
lagoons), is traced to the invasions of Chenghiz Khan early 
in the thirteenth century. They are of the Shiah sect of 
Muhammadan, differing in appearance but little from the 
cognate Ghurkha of Nipal, although they are generally of 



finer physique. The Hazara talks Persian, and, like the 
Persian-speaking communities throughout Afghanistan, he 
holds a social position below that of the Pathan, who is 
his master whenever they meet. The Hazara is, however, 
built of excellent material. In the field of manual labour he 
is unrivalled amongst Eastern workmen — patient, hard- 
working, and cheerful, and easily amenable to discipline. 
The Amir has formed a most efficient corps of sappers 
and miners from this recruiting ground, and there is no 
doubt that Hazaras would make most excellent soldiers 
in any capacity. 

It is not to be supposed that this very superficial sketch 
of the ethnography of Afghanistan embodies more than an 
outline of that strange conglomeration of mixed nation- 
alities that is included within the boundary recently 
demarcated. There are remnants of Chaldaean, Turk, 
and Mongolian races innumerable engrafted in the Aryan 
stock, of which the ancient Aria, or Herat, is represented 
to be the original home ; and in the wilderness of inac- 
cessible mountains which we call Kafiristan there is solid 
proof of existing remnants of Pelasgic origin. Within 
these hills are probably gathered together representatives 
of whole colonies of ancient peoples who, unable to hold 
their own against the restless and ever-moving waves of 
Central Asian immigration and the ferocious progress of 
Islam, have retired farther and farther into the inacces- 
sible mountains, their progressive movements having been 
spread over ages, until at last they are hidden in the 
remotest valleys that lie under the shadow of the highest 
peaks of the Hindu Kush — as strange an agglomeration of 
tribal survivals as can be found in the whole world. 
Speaking a great variety of dialects (if not actually diverse 
languages), acknowledging no common affinity or con- 
federation, the people of one valley being frequently un- 
able to converse with those of the next, they are all 
lumped together by the orthodox Muhammadan under 
the term Kafir, or infidel. Amongst them no doubt are 
survivals of the Greek dominion in this part of Asia which 
was the result of Alexander's conquest of the Persian 


empire, and the evidence seems strong that we may 
include amongst the Bashgol Kafirs those yet more 
ancient people of Pelasgic origin who, as Nyceans, 
claimed Alexander's protection during his advance through 
Swat. The Kafirs occupied a great part of Swat and the 
lower Kunar Valley as late as the sixteenth century, and 
thence retired into the Kashmund mountains north-west of 
Jalalabad within historic times. The area of their occu- 
pation can almost be traced by the entire absence of 
Buddhist remains within the limits of a district which is 
almost surrounded by such relics of the past. In the 
sixth century B.C. colonies of captive Greeks had been 
transferred from Kyrene and Milesia by Darius Hystaspes 
and Xerxes to Central Asia ; and their descendants may 
yet be found (according to Bellew) in the Logar Valley, 
south of Kabul, in certain districts of Kunduz in Afghan 
Turkestan, and on the slopes of the Hindu Kush near the 
historic pass of Kaoshan. There is at least no difficulty 
in accounting for the very marked influence of Greek art 
in the sculptures of the Buddhist monasteries and temples 
of the Peshawur Valley. Not only did Greek dynasties 
hold Baktria (which included most of Afghan Turkestan 
and Badakshan up to the Pamirs) for two hundred years 
after Alexander's invasion until they were turned out by 
the Jata Skyths about 126 B.C., but it seems exceed- 
ingly probable that the roads and passes of Badakshan 
and the Kabul basin were better known to the Mace- 
donians in the year 335 B.C. (before Alexander's advent) 
than they are to the English Intelligence Department in 
the year 1900. 

Quite recently a new province or political agency has 
been carved out of the borderland districts on the extreme 
north-west of India which presents many points of 
analogy with Baluchistan on the south. Like Baluchistan 
it includes territories within the pale of settled administra- 
tion by the Indian Government, and independent territories 
beyond the Indian frontier which are under tribal control. 
The trans-Indus provinces of the Punjab (or Derajat) with 
the Peshawur Valley form the section of the Punjab which 

ioo INDIA 

has thus been cut off ; whilst north of it and west of it are 
added the unreclaimed mountain tracts between Chitral on 
the extreme north, and the Vihowa River (a river which 
descends from the uplands west of the Sulimani Mountains 
to the Indus plain about half-way between Dera Ismael 
Khan and Dera Ghazi Khan) on the south. The western 
limit of this provincial political authority is the eastern 
boundary of Afghanistan. Practically this is the Pathan 
section of the trans-frontier, embracing the Afghan Pathan 
communities of Bajaor, Swat, and the Mohmand country ; 
and the non-Afghan Pathans (Afridis, Jowakis, Orakzais, 
Dawaris, Waziris, Sheranis, &c.) of the ancient hill 
province of Roh. There are indeed Pathan tribes on 
both sides the border, for the Kuttaks and Bungashes of 
the Kohat district are a Pushtu-speaking people who have 
submitted to British rule since the conquest of the 
Punjab. But with the general resemblance between the 
politico-geographical construction of the province and of 
its administration by an agent to the Governor-General sup- 
ported by a political staff, as well as the adoption of the 
principle of tribal levies for the safeguarding of the im- 
portant routes which traverse the border, the analogy with 
Baluchistan ends. The simple feudal system under which 
the hereditary Baluch chief governs his estates is wanting 
in the independent Pathan hills. The Pathan is nothing 
if he is not a republican, and it is the voice of his priest 
(modified by the dictates of his village " punchayet," or 
municipal council) which alone stirs him to action or 
teaches him obedience. Thus the process of direct deal- 
ing between the British agent and the Pathan people is 
rendered infinitely difficult, for there is nothing of the 
chivalrous courtesy and diplomatic tact of the high-bred 
Baluch chief about the wily and fanatical person of the 
north country Mullah, although indeed the tribal councils 
may occasionally exhibit most unexpected appreciation of 
the qualities of justice and common-sense. Geographically 
it is the most important of all the border provinces of 
India, for it is traversed by four of the most important 
routes leading into India from the west, i.e. the Khaibar, 


the Kuram, the Tochi, and the Gomal. The province is 
officially known as the North-West Frontier province. 

As in the case of Baluchistan, it is the Indian Survey records which 
have furnished most of the material for this chapter combined with the 
author's unpublished notes. The Afghan War of 1839-42 originated 
much literature on the subject of Afghanistan, but it has (with the ex- 
ception of Broadfoot's remarkable exploration between the Indian frontier 
and Ghazni) been superseded by more recent surveys and explorations 
carried out in connection with the Afghan War of 1 878-80, the Russo- 
Afghan Boundary Commission of 1883-86, and subsequent geographical 
researches on the Indian frontier by the native employees of the Indian 
Survey Department. It is only within recent years that the border line 
of mountains has been mapped, and the progress of the mapping has 
led to better information on the kindred subjects of ethnography and 
history than existed before. The most important contributor to our 
knowledge of Afghan ethnography is Dr. H. W. Bellew, C.S.I., whose 
paper in the Asiatic Quarterly Review of 1891 gives a fairly concise 
epitome of his views on the subject. For notes on the geology of the 
country I am indebted to Major C. L. Griesbach, C.S.I, (once head of 
the Indian Geological Department), who enjoyed unusual opportunities 
for its examination. Since the close of the Russo-Afghan Boundary 
Commission, Sir G. Robertson's " Kaffiristan " gives the best account 
we possess of an outlying province of Afghanistan. For any account of 
Badakshan and the outlying districts reaching to the Pamirs, we must 
refer to the records of the Pamir Boundary Commission and the report 
of the Forsyth Mission to Yarkand. The best map of Afghanistan is 
the Indian Survey compilation on the scale of 16 miles=i inch ; obtain- 
able at Calcutta. 



The state of Kashmir was at our disposal at the close of 
the first Sikh war. It was then under the administration 
of one Golab Sing, who had risen to prominence in the 
service of the great Sikh leader, Ranjit Sing. To Golab 
Sing and his heirs the state of Kashmir was assigned in 
1846 for a money consideration amounting to about one 
million sterling, and on the understanding that he would 
remain neutral when the second Sikh war (which was then 
imminent) should commence. Golab Sing was true to 
his engagement. He deserted his Sikh masters and paid 
for Kashmir with money looted from the Lahore treasury. 
Thus Kashmir became an independent state, after the 
fashion in which native states within the limits of British 
India are independent. Its geographical position to the 
north of the Punjab and its world-famed climate and 
scenery, as well as its influence on the conditions of life in 
the plains of the Punjab as the cradle of some of its great 
rivers — all these have rendered Kashmir prominent 
amongst the native states of India, and have made that 
country the final objective of almost every conqueror who 
has invaded the peninsula. In later years Kashmir has 
acquired a new interest and fresh importance, firstly, as a 
possible sphere for European colonisation ; and, secondly, 
as the guardian state of those entrances to India from the 
north which are directly connected with the eastern passes 
over the Hindu Kush. 

Originally defined as lying between the Indus and the 
Ravi, Kashmir now stretches out an arm so as to include 
a part of the Gilgit basin ; and the political influence of 
the British resident at Srinagar reaches beyond Gilgit to 


Chitral. The unexplored mountain wildernesses of Tangir 
and Darel (lying west of Gilgit and bordering the plains 
of Swat) are still absolutely independent. We know little 
about them. The same may be said of those districts of 
the Indus basin which include Buner and the hills south 
of that valley. Over a great part of Swat and Bajaor, 
together with a portion of the Mohmand districts, we 
have lately extended a certain amount of political control 
with the object of preserving our right of way from the 
plains of Peshawur to Chitral ; but it is an influence which 
has to be supported by force of arms, although it aims 
only at securing the good-will of the local chiefs in Swat, 
Bajaor, and Dir. Chitral and Gilgit are important to us 
in so far as they serve as outposts from which we may 
keep watch over certain northern gateways of the Trans- 
Himalaya, and to afford us opportunity of influencing the 
border tribes in their neighbourhood. Otherwise the vast 
wilderness of snow-clad mountains which encloses them, 
intersected by narrow valleys buried beneath overhanging 
masses of cliff and crag (too narrow to do more than 
support a scanty and hardy population of mountaineers), 
is too difficult of access, and too remote from civilised 
centres, to be a source of anything but periodical em- 

Until we made a road to Gilgit the mountain tracks 
to that place were well-nigh impassable ; beyond Chitral 
and Gilgit these tracks still retain their primitive simplicity 
— a simplicity which only occasionally admits of the passing 
to and fro of those mountaineers who habitually use them. 
For throughout all this region the rigours of an eight- 
months' winter binds the land in an iron grip, and when 
these passes are spoken of as " practicable," the term is 
understood to be strictly limited to four months of the 
year, intervening between 1st June and 31st October. 
During these four months, indeed, the mountain floods 
are loosened, and every ridge and fold in the hills 
despatches its rivulet of snow-fed water to swell the 
torrents in the river beds. In June the winter covering 
of snow is withdrawn from the slopes about the passes, 

104 INDIA 

and a new carpet, bright with every conceivable hue of 
summer flower, is spread abroad. The little lakelets nest- 
ling amongst surrounding crags on the broad back of the 
Hindu Kush are unbound, and the glory of the budding 
summer replaces the dreary silences of winter. It is then, 
and then only, that travellers may make their way to the 
northern borders of Kashmir, and cross the dividing line 
between Kashmir and Afghanistan. 

The northern boundary of the dependencies of Kash- 
mir (including Chitral, Gilgit, and the Kanjut province) is 
the boundary of that arm of Afghanistan which reaches 
out to the extreme north-east to interpose as a buffer 
between India and Russia. It extends along the water- 
parting of the Hindu Kush until it reaches the Dorah 
Pass, where a subsidiary range or offshoot carries it 
southward, dividing the Bashgol valley of Kafiristan from 
the valley of Chitral. Not far from the point already 
indicated as the geographical tri-junction, from which 
springs the Hindu Kush, the Mustagh, and the third great 
watershed which reaches meridionally northward to serve 
(provisionally) as the boundary between Russia and China 
(now called the Sarikol), we have a vast agglomeration of 
snow-fields and glacial lakes at an average height of 
18,000 feet above sea-level. Amongst them lies the 
hidden water-parting of the Hindu Kush, and from them 
emanate all those river systems which offer opportunities 
of approach to India from the north. Here the Chitral 
River rises, and, sweeping southwards in two large tribu- 
taries through a mass of glacial hills, sometimes over a 
comparatively wide and shingly bed, sometimes narrowed 
to a torrent between precipitous cliffs, waters Chitral, the 
Kunar Valley, and Jalalabad. The Chitral River and the 
Kunar are one and the same. A third name for the 
same river is Kashkar. This river, with its various 
heads, forms the principal line of approach to India from 
the north ; the Panjkora and the Swat Rivers take their 
rise farther south, amidst the unexplored mountain gorges of 
Darel, and only offer a difficult route towards the Peshawur 
Valley, along their cliff-bound banks south of Gilgit. 


Striking more to the eastward from this same moun- 
tain tri-j unction, the Gilgit River takes its way to the 
Indus, receiving the tributary of Hunza en route. Thus, 
should any one enter India from the north, it must be by 
some pass crossing the Hindu Kush watershed between 
the Mustagh range (which bounds the Eastern Pamirs on 
the south) and the Dorah Pass of the Hindu Kush, 
leading either to Gilgit or Chitral. Westwards from the 
Dorah, the nature of that section of the Hindu Kush 
which bisects Kafiristan forbids all idea of a cross passage, 
unless, indeed, a highroad to Badal&han is made artifi- 
cially through the head of the Kafiristan mountains. No 
such approach from the north has ever yet been found or 
made use 'of historically. Only small parties of hardy 
Buddhist pilgrims in search of religious instruction, and 
full of the spirit of self-sacrifice which distinguishes the 
devotee, have passed from the great plains of China over 
the Hindu Kush to Chitral, Gilgit, Darel, and Swat (all of 
which were once centres of the Buddhist faith) in the 
early centuries of our era. Avoiding the Kunar Valley 
between Chitral and Jalalabad, which was then and for 
centuries later occupied by Kafirs, these searchers for 
spiritual knowledge appear to have struck into those 
hidden tracks that border the Indus, the Panjkora, and 
the Swat Rivers, and to have made their way with infinite 
pain and difficulty to the great monasteries and stupas of 
the Peshawur plains. No military force of any conse- 
quence ever has, or ever could, follow their footsteps. 

The northern hinterland of Kashmir (which includes 
Dardistan) is distinguished even amongst the vast altitudes 
of the Himalayas for the magnificence of its snowy peaks 
and the wide expanse of snow-field and glacier which 
spread like a polar sea around them. The valleys are 
comparatively low ; the valley of the Indus near Gilgit 
being but 4600 feet above sea-level — low enough to admit 
of a narrow belt of cultivation and to encourage the 
growth of the fruit-trees of the plains. It is from alti- 
tudes such as this that one looks up to the heights of 
Nanga Parbat (26,600 feet) or to Rakapushi (which may be 



called the Himalayan Matterhorn), shimmering amongst 
the clouds at an elevation of 25,500 feet. Tirach Mir, 
north of Chitral, is another gigantic, square-headed mass, 
the summit of which is also above the 25,000 foot line ; 
and there are countless other peaks, subordinate indeed 
to these, but still towering many thousands of feet above 




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Fig. 32. — Routes in Kashmir. 

the highest of the European Alps. The main water- 
parting of the Hindu Kush is comparatively low, falling 
to 12,500 feet between Gilgit and the Pamirs. It is the 
lofty peaks of its great southern spurs which group them- 
selves together into such a combination of magnificent 
altitude — only rivalled by the highest mountain group in 
the world. From the intersecting mountain chains of 
the Pamirs, dividing the Little from the Great Pamir, at 


altitudes not exceeding 18,000 feet, this grand array of 
Kashmir peaks may easily be seen overtopping the broad 
back of the Hindu Kush itself ; and it is thus that oppor- 
tunity has been afforded for carrying the triangulation of 
the Indian surveys northwards into the Pamir region. 

Apart from this northern wilderness, which combines 
the fresh beauty of many a sunny valley with the stern 
grandeur of ice-bound peaks, Kashmir is a land of such 
surpassing beauty as almost to justify the rhapsodies 
which have been poured out in its praise by the most 
imaginative of oriental poets. It is one of the few countries 
in the world which never seems to disappoint the expec- 
tations that have been formed of it. There is not a fruit 
or a vegetable that will grow in a temperate climate that 
cannot be grown in Kashmir. Wine of really excellent 
quality is produced there. Silk can be cultivated. The 
growth of tea, chinchona, and hops have all proved a 
success, whilst the natural products of the country are 
varied and abundant. The manufactures of Kashmir are 
famous — its shawl-weaving and its silver-work, its silk 
embroideries and its carpets. The great valley which 
stretches from the Wulur Lake to Srinagar is full of that 
interest which always attaches itself to the architectural 
evidences of an ancient faith. 

It is difficult to write of Kashmir scenery in adequate 
terms. From the top of the Tragbal Pass, at 11,000 feet 
of elevation, north of the Wulur Lake, looking across the 
Happy Valley on a clear October day, one is in presence 
of the full majesty of a complete range of snow-capped 
mountains extending from east to west, and shutting off 
the valley from farther intervening hills that stretch to 
the plains of India. This is the Pir Panjal range. 
At either end of the Pir Panjal a farther vista of silver 
peaks embraces a mountain panorama, which gradually 
increases in altitude to the unbroken snow-fields of Hara- 
mosh and the far-off solitudes of Nanga Parbat. All 
around is snow ; all around is the eternal silence of vast 
altitudes — the mystery of unapproachable ice-bound pin- 
nacles and glaciers. And amidst it all lies the valley of 

108 INDIA 

the Wulur Lake, golden with the lights of autumn crops, 
edged with purple and russet where the lower spurs of 
the mountains bind the yellow plain. In the midst of the 
valley is the lake, reflecting each feature of the surround- 
ing hills as in a mirror, but broken with dark blotches 
of chenar-covered islands and floating gardens. Small 
wonder that the gods of the woods and the mountains 
still hold their own in the superstitious veneration of the 
Muhammadan inhabitants, who have not learned yet to 
forget the teachings of their ancient Hindu faith, and still 
cherish some faint survival of the yet more ancient sym- 
bols of Turanian demonology ! 

The capital of Kashmir, Srinagar, consists of a collec- 
tion of rickety wood-built structures erected on the banks 
of the Jehlam, exceedingly picturesque to the eye, but 
otherwise foul with the abominations of centuries. It is 
here that the shawl and carpet-weaving is maintained, and 
here is the centre of European occupation. Srinagar is 
readily accessible from the plains of India. A good tonga 
road from Murree (the hill-station of the Punjab) already 
runs some hundred miles to Baramulla on the Jehlam, 
at the entrance of the Kashmir valley, and a further ex- 
tension to Srinagar will shortly be completed. 1 

Our practical interest in Kashmir lies in its possible 
capability for supporting a purely European colony such 
as might eventually prove a source of strength to the 
Empire in India. There is little doubt indeed about its 
adaptability to European life — in a measure and to an 
extent greater than is to be found elsewhere in India. 
Eurasian (or half-caste) colonies exist all over India, 
chiefly on the skirts of the larger towns and stations, and 
they are dependent almost entirely on the European com- 
munity for employment and means of subsistence. But 
there are no pure European colonies in India yet. There 
are a few European settlers in the Nilgiris and the hill- 
stations of the Himalayas, but they do not form colonies. 
Their sons and daughters are usually educated in Eng- 
land, and do not in their turn look to India as the land 

1 .899- 


of their adoption. In Kashmir alone are there signs of 
possible colonisation. Already on the banks of the Dal 
Lake there is springing up a small English town with 
English houses and gardens which bears signs of per- 

The greater portion of the cultivable area of the 
Kashmir state is concentrated in the valley of the 
Jehlam, where the river winds w r ith sluggish current and 
tortuous windings to the Wulur Lake, and passes thence 
by the narrow outlet at Sopur to a rapid and broken 
descent to the plains of India. Thus the valley offers to 
the geologist an important Himalayan example of the 
formation of a wide and highly fertile plain by the local 
elevation of a stream bed above a narrowing outlet, which 
has led to a vast deposit of alluvium and to the flattening 
of the river gradient. Within the limits of this plain are 
gathered the chief centres of local industry, together with 
innumerable villages of the Kashmir peasantry, whose lives, 
passed amid scenes of surpassing natural beauty, have been 
chequered and degraded in the past by oppression and 
misrule, and their numbers thinned by pestilence, famine, 
and earthquake. Under the rule of the present Maharaja, 
Sir Pratab Sing, many useful reforms have been in- 
augurated, including a land assessment and the formation 
of a permanent residence for a British political officer at 
Srinagar. The political influence which centres at Srinagar 
reaches to Kashgar, to Leh (the capital of Ladak), to 
Gilgit and to Chitral. With the establishment of the 
Residency, there has been a great increase of English 
visitors and of new settlements. Gulmarg, in one of the 
glades on the northern slopes of the Pir Panjal, is already 
a popular resort, although the erection of permanent 
buildings has not yet been sanctioned by the state. The 
improvement in communications and the introduction of 
telegraphs have developed the internal traffic of the country, 
and conduced to a general increase in trade and in land 
revenue. The change in the condition of the people, 
who were in 1887 in a position of absolute serfdom with- 
out rights or power to represent their grievances, is perhaps 


the most notable result of the influence of British represen- 
tation in the councils of the durbar. The character of the 
Kashmiri had been moulded by bad administration into 
a timid and passive endurance of degrading oppression, 
and yet these people represent an intellectual nationality 
probably older than any to be found in Northern India, 
still holding to the land of their ancestors in spite of the 
despotism of Pathan, Moghul, Sikh, and Dogra, which has 
been successively imposed upon them. Of the 820,000 
souls who inhabit the Kashmir valley (including 120,000 
in Srinagar alone), 93 per cent, are Muhammadan, and 
the rest chiefly Hindus. There is but little crime amongst 
them. They are a law-abiding race, as they were under 
their ancient Hindu kings, and now they enjoy at last a 
certain measure of prosperity and contentment under the 
new land settlement regulations. 

The state of Kashmir occupies a square moun- 
tainous block of territory, about 300 miles in length 
by 300 in breadth at the north-western extremity of the 
Himalayas, and is divided into two almost equal parts 
by the Indus diagonally crossing from north-west to 
south-east. Geographically the mountain area south 
of the Indus only is Himalayan, and the northern 
features belong to the Trans-Himalayan system — a some- 
what arbitrary distinction which is rendered necessary 
for purposes of definition. Measured by the process 
of Himalayan evolution it will be remembered that the 
north-western section of the entire mass is very much 
more recent than the eastern, which is separated by 
geological ages from the comparatively recent formations 
found east of the Brahmaputra, throughout the Tibetan 
plateau, and on the north-western borders of India. 
Geological evidence, therefore, supports the popular view 
of Himalayan geography, which places the true Himalaya 
(the " Abode of Snow," from the Sanscrit hima y " frost," and 
alayciy "a house") within the gigantic arms of the Indus and the 
Brahmaputra, and regards the entire system as the southern 
revetement or buttress of the Tibetan plateau, analogous 
to the Kuen Lun mountains which border that plateau 


on the north. Accepting this definition, the Himalayas 
extend along the northern frontier of India for about 
1500 miles, with a varying breadth of 150 to 200 miles. 
Throughout this length they are dominated by one con- 
spicuous main chain, which, under the name of Zaskar 
(in Kashmir), includes all the most prominent snow-clad 
peaks from Haramosh (16,900 feet), on the north-west, 
to Kanchanjanga (28,176 feet) and Everest (29,002 feet), 
on the south-east. 

Some authorities maintain that this central range 
extends beyond the Indus to the north-west, and includes 

Main Water Partings — — 

Fig. 33. — The Bend of the Indus. 

Nanga Parbat and other high peaks overlooking the 
Gilgit basin from the south. This theory involves the 
assumption that the Indus River (maintaining its course 
through prehistoric ages whilst the mountain system was 
in gradual process of evolution) splits the main chain 
apart at the point where it changes from a north-westerly to 
a south-westerly direction near the junction of the Gilgit 
River — a phenomenon which is undoubtedly repeated by 
the Sutlej River and the Gandak in the Central Himalayas. 
This, however, is certainly not true of the Brahmaputra on 
the extreme east, which river has clearly been diverted from 
an original primeval course towards China by the recent 
formation of the close parallel folds of the mountains 

ii2 INDIA 

extending from the eastern limits of the Tibetan plateau 
southwards into Burma. There is no true basis, either 
geographical or geological, for the analagous statement 
that the Himalayan system reaches east of the Brahma- 

To the south of the main chain several minor chains, 
or folds, preserving an approximate parallelism to it, are 
recognisable (especially in the north-western regions of 
the Himalayas), with intervals filled in by irregular spurs 
and subsidiary ridges. North of it we find (according 

FlG. 34. — The Tibetan Plateau. 

to some authorities) 1 a secondary wall of mountains, 
flanked by the long trough of the upper Indus and 
Brahmaputra (here called the Tsan-pu) which receive 
the drainage of the northern Himalayan slopes. There 
is certainly not sufficient geographical evidence at present 
to maintain the theory of a secondary continuous wall 
or chain in this position ; and we must for the present 
remain satisfied with the known fact that the main central 
axis of upheaval, forming the true watershed of India, 
crosses the plateau of Tibet from west to east to the 
south of the central lake region. Within the limits of the 

1 See "Hunter's Gazetteer," vol. vi., "India." 


i J 3 

Kashmir northern dependencies we are perhaps justified 
in assuming that the northern rim of the Indus basin, 
the Karakoram mountain range, which includes Mount 
Godwin- Austen (28,278 feet) and other mighty peaks, 
indicates the central crystalline axis of upheaval of the 
great mass of elevated plateau and mountain. But these 
magnificentTrans-Himalayan chains subsideinto the plateau 
about the longitude of the Pangong Lake (79 E.L.), and 
are apparently only recognisable farther by geological 
indications. It is about the point of their subsidence that 
the most direct and easiest access is found from Leh 

Fig. 35. — The Sources of the Indus, Ganges, and Brahmaputra. 

(the capital of Ladak) eastward into Tibet, and from 
prehistoric days this has been the main line of communi- 
cation between Kashmir and Lhasa. It is more or less 
along this line (about 200—300 miles from the Kashmir 
border) that through all ages those gold mines have been 
worked which were famous in the days of Herodotus. 
Tibetan gold has found its way to Kashmir on the west, 
Kashgar on the north, Pekin on the east, and, finally, to 
India on the south by many routes and passes, those of the 
Kumaon (or Sutlej River) group being now most traversed. 
The Ladak group, the Kumaon group, and the Sikkim group 
form the three best-known and most practicable groups of 


ii4 INDIA 

passes traversing the Himalayas in the north-west, centre, 
and south-east respectively. 

In such an extent of mountain and valley as is 
represented by the Himalayas, we may expect to find 
every conceivable climate and every variety of vegeta- 
tion, from the tropical growths of the low-lying valleys 
where the heat is at times as great as anything known 
in the plains of India, to the scanty, snow-bound vegeta- 
tion of the highest altitudes which permit of vegetable 
growth at all. The Himalayas have consequently been 
more misrepresented by travellers than any other portion 
of the infinitely varied continent of India. The lower 
ranges, which at some points slope up steeply from the 
plains, are elsewhere divided from the plains by subsidiary 
ranges of recent formation, enclosing valleys, called Dun, 
at elevations of 2000 to 3000 feet between themselves 
and their foothills. These outer ranges, facing south and 
south-west, are covered with luxuriant vegetation, varying 
with the varying altitude, tropical in character towards 
Assam and the eastern branches of the Himalayas, but 
allied to the vegetation of temperate zones in the north- 
west. Here the various pines (chiefly the pinus excelsa 
and pinus longifolid) flourish alongside the Himalayan oak 
and rhododendron, which latter grow to the size of shade 
trees. In some parts firs predominate over pines ; in others 
there are no firs and only pines, deodar (the cedar of 
Lebanon), oak forests, and rhododendrons. The dividing 
line between different classes of flora are often strongly 
marked. For instance, eight miles from Simla, along the 
great Tibet road, at Mashobra, we find pines replaced by 
firs, and the silver oak giving place to the green oak, whilst 
trees of new species exist which are unknown in Simla. 
Altitude, doubtless, has much influence on the differentia- 
tion of vegetable growth, even as instanced in some 
particular species. At altitudes of 7000 or 8000 feet, the 
rhododendron grows to the size of trees, and the brilliant 
scarlet and pink blossoms of it are the glory of Simla in 
the late spring. On the spur or offshoot of the snowy 
mountains which enclose the reputed head of the Ganges 


at Gangotri, scarlet rhododendrons cover scores of square 
miles, massed together in a dense forest reaching as far as 
the eye can overlook the successive billows of the hills. 
As summer comes on the petals fall, and the hillsides are 
hidden under scarlet leaves, until little is left but a mag- 
nificent blaze of vivid colour, set against a background of 
white snow and deep-blue sky. But as one ascends 
gradually to higher altitudes beneath the snow-line, the 
colour changes from scarlet to purple, then to lilac, and 
finally, amidst the snow, the rhododendron trees diminish to 
the more compact form known in England, and the colour 
of the flower is often pure white. 

It has frequently been observed that in the north-west 
Himalayan region the southern spurs of the ranges are 
barren and scarred with landslips, and, as a rule, devoid 
of forest growth, whilst the northern slopes facing the 
snows support a vigorous vegetation. The subsoil is the 
same on either side, yet the difference in the character of 
the southern and northern slopes of the mountains is so 
marked as to be conspicuous even on the smallest spurs 
aud eminences. This is largely due to the effects of the 
sun in hot weather, and to the fact that the southern slopes 
are more inhabited and cultivated than the northern. 
The winter snow lies longer and is more easily retained on 
the north slopes, and thus the forest trees retain the mois- 
ture and have a better chance of existence than is possible 
on the south, where the scorched and sun-dried vegeta- 
tion is not only subject to the effects of jungle fires, but to 
destruction by herds of goats and flocks of sheep. It is 
probable, also, that the hillside cultivators themselves set 
fire to the grass in order to improve the quality of the 

The south-eastern Himalayas bordering Assam exhibit 
in their lower valleys all the luxuriance and beauty of 
tropical vegetation. Forests of bamboo cover the steep 
hillsides, and in the narrow gullies and clefts of the 
mountains the tree fern expands its splendid crown. The 
rainfall is much more abundant and more evenly dis- 
tributed throughout the year in these southerly districts, 


consequently the forests are denser, and the variety of 
trees infinitely greater. 

In the south-east of the Himalayas the highest group 
of mountains in the world is to be found gathering around 
Mount Everest (29,000 feet). Mount Everest (or Gauri- 
sankar) is itself only one peak amidst a number of sur- 
rounding satellites so little inferior to it in height that 
when its altitude was first observed trigonometrically, it 
was by no means selected as either the highest or the 
most conspicuous. It is, consequently, very difficult to 
obtain a clear view of this mountain monarch of the 
world, and though the whole group may be observed 
from several points accessible to travellers not far from 
Darjiling, it is doubtful whether the actual peak can 
be seen. On the borders of Sikkim, not far to 
the east of Mount Everest, is another gigantic peak, 
Kanchanjanga (28,180 feet), but little inferior in altitude, 
and far surpassing Everest in the majestic grandeur of its 
appearance. As it faces the hill-station of Darjiling at a 
distance of fifty miles, and is particularly well placed for 
observation (there being no intervening ranges of great 
altitude), it may be doubted whether a more impressive 
experience of the silent and unapproachable grandeur that 
surrounds the " everlasting hills" can be obtained in the 
whole wide world. If Everest is monarch of the world, 
Kanchanjanga is at least prince of the Himalayas. And 
the impressiveness that attends vast altitudes is in no 
way diminished by the wealth of forest vegetation which 
envelops the lower spurs and buttresses of the snow peaks. 
It may happen indeed that, under stress of winter cold, 
even these forests may for a time be buried in snow. Then 
the delicate tracery formed by the forests of snow-weighted 
bamboo form a fleeting shroud of intricate lace drawn 
across the depths from hill to hill, in delicate contrast with 
the stern grandeur of the snow clad peaks above. 

From the foot of the lower spurs of the Himalayas 
throughout the south-eastern districts, and extending more 
or less along the line of junction with the plains as far to 
the north as the district of Kuniaon, there is a broad belt of 


forest country usually known as Tarai. Southwards it con- 
sists usually of a dense jungle of grass and immense forest 
trees, and is impassable to all but elephants, rhinoceros, 
and buffaloes. Such are the Bhutan Duars north of the 
Brahmaputra River. Towards the north-west the character 
of the vegetation alters with the changing climate, but the 
Tarai jungle is still a marked feature dividing the hills 
from the plains, notorious for its deadly climate during 
certain seasons of the year, and famous as a game preserve. 
The Tarai ends on the north-west where the subsidiary 
range called Siwaliks begins, the formation of high level 
valleys between the Siwaliks and the Himalaya offer- 
ing a varied geographical feature, partaking of many 
of the characteristics of Tarai both in climate and vege- 

The physical conformation of the Himalayas as a whole 
is not so complicated as a first view of the intricate maze 
of mountain ranges on the map would seem to indicate. 
The general high level upheaval above the earth's surface 
which crosses Asia from the Pamirs to the Burmese and 
Chinese frontier is all mountainous, but not all moun- 
tainous in the same degree. That apparent water-parting, 
which extends with more or less regularity from Kashmir 
to Eastern Assam and Burma, which is set back from the 
plains at about one hundred miles distance, and is distin- 
guished as the " snowy range," divides this vast elevated 
region laterally into two systems with different charac- 
teristics. Northward of it, and beyond it, lies the true 
source of all the chief rivers in India (the central snowy 
range being no true divide or watershed), and in this 
northern section it would seem that in the course of 
countless ages the influence of glacial action had changed 
the relative altitude of hill and plain, the mountain crests 
becoming lower and the valleys more elevated and conse- 
quently more extensive. Thus we find wide plateaux in 
Tibet intersected by rugged lines of mountains which have 
no analogy whatever to the southern subsidiary ranges of 
the Himalayas. The grassy highland valleys of the Pamirs 
and the vast sterile stony steppes of Tibet are equally 



removed from the comparatively narrow and low level 
lines of southern Himalayan watercourse and watershed, 
where rushing torrents are crushed in between steep cliffs 
and grassy slopes, or find their way to the plains amidst a 
wilderness of magnificent mountain forest. There is no 
comparison whatsoever between the dreary, wind-swept 
solitudes, 15,000 to 16,000 feet in elevation, which stretch 
from Kashmir to the Chinese frontier north of the Indus and 
Brahmaputra, and the lovely, but often heat-ridden valleys 
of the Himalaya, which enclose the upper tributaries of the 
Sutlej and the Ganges. 

There is a point about half-way between Kashmir and 
Eastern Assam, situated at the back of the great central 

Fig. 36. — The Sources of the Indus, Sutlej, Ghagra, 
and Brahmaputra. 

snow barrier to which I have alluded, which forms one 
of the world's great hydrographic centres. It is approxi- 
mately marked by the Manasarawar Lake, or collection of 
lakes, to the south-east of Kashmir. Here rises the Indus, 
which takes a straight course north-westward through 
Kashmir for some 500 miles (dividing the Mustagh and 
Karakoram mountains of the Trans-Himalayan region 
from the Himalayas) ere it takes its great bend south-west, 
not very far from Gilgit, and thenceforward runs fairly 
straight for another 1000 miles to the Arabian Sea. 
Here, too, rises the Brahmaputra, which, under the name 
of theTsanpo (Great River), travels eastward for 800 miles 
through Tibet, passing south of Lhasa, till it, too, takes 


a great bend to the south and south-west through un- 
known hills, and in its farther course of 600 miles carries 
the drainage of Assam to the Bay of Bengal. Enclosed 
between these two mighty river arms the Himalayas may 
be said to lie. Not very far from the same hydrographi- 
cal centre are the sources of the Sutlej, which, winding 
through the mountains past Simla, waters the eastern 
Punjab and is lost in the Indus, and of the Sarda or 
Ghagra, which is so much the largest tributary of the 
Ganges as to render it doubtful whether it is not the 
main stream. The Ganges is traditionally supposed to 
rise at Gangotri, where the Gaimukh (or cow's mouth) 
is pointed out as the glacial origin of the river. But the 
stream which issues from the ice cave at Gangotri is the 
Bhagirathi, a comparatively small affluent of the Ganges 
compared to the Alaknanda which drains from the Bad- 
rinath and Nandadevi group of snowy peaks ; or to the 
far larger Ghagra which rises beyond Nepal, and joins 
the Ganges some 500 miles from its mouth. 

Interlaced between the upper tributaries of these four 
great rivers is the gigantic system of mountains which 
form the true Himalayas, culminating in a vast and con- 
tinuous chain of snow-covered mountains stretching from 
the bend of the Indus to the bend of the Brahmaputra, 
crowned with the highest peaks that the world has to 
show, across which lie the direct passes into Tibet. Tibet 
can be entered from Eastern Kashmir by way of Leh and 
the Pangong Lake, but even here the practicable passes 
which might lead to Lhasa are jealously guarded, and 
such is the present exclusiveness of Tibetan officialdom, 
that there is no way into Tibet between Leh and Darjiling 
that is open to the European. 

The line of perpetual snow on this culminating chain 
of peaks is reckoned at 16,000 feet above sea-level, con- 
sequently there is always a " snowy range " visible from 
every hill-station on the outer spurs of the Himalaya. 
Beyond this chain either in Tibet, or in the far north-west 
of Kashmir, on the Mustagh and the Karakoram which 
divide Kashmir from that part of Chinese territory which 

120 INDIA 

is called the u New Dominion/' l or even on the Hindu 
Kush, the line of perpetual snow is very much higher. 
From the hills encircling Kabul it is not unusual in the 
late summer and early autumn to look northward without 
seeing snow at all. This is due to the comparatively 
dry atmosphere of the Trans- Himalayan districts which 
precludes the formation of snow in spite of the intense 
severity of the cold. These regions are beyond monsoon 
influences, as will be explained hereafter, and it is only 
the southern slopes of the Himalayas, which face the 
moisture-laden currents of the south-west monsoon, that 
retain the snow to comparatively low altitudes. 

Within the Himalayan region we have a subdivision 
into districts which are directly under British administra- 
tion, and districts which are under their own local rulers 
called " native states," just as we have them in the plains 
of the Indian peninsula. By far the greater part of the 
Himalayas are, however, under independent government. 
In Assam, on the extreme south-east, we only hold the 
skirts of the hills south of Bhutan which is entirely 
beyond our political control. We hold two military 
posts, one at Buxa and the other at Dewangiri, which 
were acquired by us at the close of the Bhutan campaign 
in 1865, both of which are on the lower spurs of the 
Himalayas and separated from the Brahmaputra by about 
fifty miles of densely forest-clad plains called the Duars. 
Assam itself consists of the long, narrow, sub-Himalayan 
plains bordering the Brahmaputra, and of the irregular and 
broken plateaux held by Khasias, Nagas, &c, which extend 
southwards for one hundred miles from the river. With 
Bhutan we endeavoured to establish political relations 
in 1863, but the attempt ended in failure, and a desul- 
tory and unsatisfactory campaign followed, which suffi- 
ciently proved the impossibility of moving a large armed 
force through the uncertain tracks and byways which lead 
from the plains to the capital of Bhutan at Punakha. 
Since then Bhutan has been left alone. West of Bhutan 
lies the small state of Sikkim, on the southern edge of 

1 Chinese Turkestan or Kashgaria. 


which is the hill-station of Darjiling, and its northern 
border is within 150 miles of Lhasa, the capital of Tibet. 
Recent boundary disputes with the Tibetan authorities 
led to an expedition into Sikkim, which has resulted in the 
rectification of the frontier, but to no better understand- 
ing as regards European visitors to Tibet. Over the state 
of Sikkim we now exercise paramount political control. 

For about 450 miles to the west of Sikkim, with an 
average breadth of about 100 miles, stretches the native 
state of Nepal, by far the most important of all the native 
states of the Himalayas. Nepal is absolutely independent, 
and has been so since 181 5-16, when the Nepalese were 
defeated after an arduous and difficult hill campaign, and 
lost their richest districts of Kumaon and Garhwal. Since 
then they have maintained a policy of " absolute but 
friendly isolation," treating the British resident at the 
capital (Khatmandu) as an honoured prisoner, but closing 
their gates to Europeans. The result of this policy has 
certainly been that no disputes with Nepal have arisen 
for eighty years, and at the same time no exploration of 
the country has been possible. We do not even now 
know for a certainty which is the best route to Khatmandu. 
A considerable fringe of the Tarai jungle at the foot of the 
Himalayas is included within the Nepalese boundary. 
Here is, perhaps, the finest game preserve in India ; and 
here also a new interest has lately been added by the 
discovery of the birthplace of Gautama (the founder of 
Buddhism), and the sites of his early experiences. Al- 
though Nepal is as much an unexplored wilderness to 
us as many parts of Africa, the good feeling which has 
ever subsisted between the two Governments is a distinct 
source of strength to our position in India. For the 
goodwill of the Governments extends to the people. 
Between English and Gurkhas (who are either true 
Nepalese, or are very closely allied to them) there has 
ever been a spirit of mutual respect and reliance. 

The districts of Kumaon and Garhwal (now entirely 
British) lie to the west of Nepal, and on the north of 
the North-West Provinces in which they are included. 



In the Kumaon mountains is the pretty but rather 
confined hill-station of Naini Tal, situated on the banks 
of a lake surrounded by steep-sided hills, not always 
secure from the danger of landslips ; and within its area 
of 12,000 square miles are to be found some of the 
grandest scenes that Himalayan mountains can present. 
Sir John Strachey writes with a special reference to 
Kumaon when he says that, " to the traveller who re- 
members the wild magnificence of the peaks and glaciers 
of the Himalaya, and the general sublimity of its aspect, 
Zermatt and Chamouni seem insignificant. The mere 





Sea Levels 

Miles 250 

Section across the Alps 

Fig. 37. — Comparative Elevations, British, Alpine, Himalayan. 

fact that the ranges of the Himalaya are often twice as 
high as those of the Alps gives no idea of their respective 
magnitude. The whole of the Bernese Alps might, it 
has been said, be cast into a single Himalayan valley. 
You might almost as reasonably, when the Scotch or 
Welsh hills are white with snow, compare them with 
Mont Blanc and Monte Rosa, as compare anything in 
the Alps with Nanda Devi and Trisul. If, preserving 
the form of its great obelisk, you could pile the Matter- 
horn on the Jungfrau you would not reach the highest 
summits of the Himalaya, and would have a mountain 
less wonderful than the astonishing peak of Dunagiri." 



But comparisons of this sort fail to impress the mind 
with an idea of the real grandeur of the Himalayas. To 
watch the early dawn breaking over a line of towering 
snow peaks in the clear mornings of early October, 
and from the shadowy hillside to count the pinnacles one 
by one as the first rays of the sun awaken them from 
the blue stillness of sleep to the brilliant glow of early 
life ; to see the shadows chased away out of the rifts of 
crag and gully till the flat depths of mountain mystery 



Above 6000 ft m ^\j-v 

^aw ' A J Y ( A 

Fig. 38. — The Alps and the Himalayas on the same Scale. 

are broken into countless shapes with the chequered beauty 
of light and shade, and the great majesty of the everlasting 
hills slowly resumes its daily form — this is the way to 
secure a lasting impression of the Himalayas. 

Beyond Kumaon to the north-west, stretching across 
the Jumna to the borders of Kashmir, are a variety of 
small native states, both Sikh and Rajput, all under 
British control, some of them of little or no political im- 
portance, others (such as Patiala) a source of strength 
to the Empire for the loyal support that they bring to 
the Government in times of stress and difficulty. Others 



again are distinguished no less for loyalty than for the 
enormous antiquity of their ruling dynasties (these are 
the Rajput states), but all of them are developing rapidly 
and changing the old order under the gradually increasing 
influence of that European civilisation which is ever 
expanding around the hill-stations of Northern India. 

In the absence of settled colonies of Englishmen these 
Himalayan hill-stations, centres of European life and in- 
terest, exercise a most important function in the gradual 
process of social development. But for them the con- 
ditions of modern European life in India would be 

Fig. 39. — High Stations of the Himalayas. 

almost intolerable. It is the increasing facility with which 
the overworked official, with damaged health and tired 
brain, enervated by daily official routine in the stifling at- 
mosphere of the civil law courts, or worn out by those 
bodily derangements which are inseparable from the ex- 
perience of duties performed in the heat of an Indian 
summer, can speed to the hills and recoup his strength in 
a pure atmosphere and a comparatively cool climate, that 
keeps the great machinery of government in working order, 
and prevents the dislocation that would inevitably follow 
on a constant change of administration. But for the hill- 
stations of India an Indian career would imply a continuous 


series of rapid journeys from India to Europe and back 
again. Life would be but an everlasting oscillation for 
most men and for nearly all women. The hill-stations are 
India's salvation. It would not be too much to say that 
they alone make the permanent occupation of India a 
possibility ; and if they are thus beneficial to the European 
community they as certainly exercise a good effect on the 
social relations between Englishmen and Indians. It is 
only in the hills that schools can be maintained for the 
education of that large and growing class who fill the sub- 
ordinate posts in all departments of the State, through 
whom we are more directly in touch with native feeling 
than is possible with any other branch of Anglo-Indian 
society. If there is contact at all between the ruling class 
and the people ruled, it is to be found in this social bor- 
derland, where Europeans and natives work side by side 
with the same ends in view and receive their promotion 
on equal terms. Amongst the higher social functionaries 
efforts are constantly made to bring together the best 
educated representatives of the native community and the 
official classes of India, but the results are not satisfactory. 
No lasting friendships spring out of this formal inter- 
course. The average English official remains as utterly 
ignorant of the inner life and domestic habits of the 
Muhammadan or Hindu gentleman as he is of those of 
the Esquimaux. Our hill-stations are at least cosmopoli- 
tan, and it is in them, if anywhere, that all classes meet 
together and interchange social amenities. Nor is it pos- 
sible to doubt that the vitality and energy recouped in 
the atmosphere of the mountains is reflected in the daily 
official business life of the plains. In short, vigorous ad- 
ministration in all branches of civil and military service 
in India depends largely on those resources of renewed 
vitality that is found in the hill-stations. They deserve, 
therefore, more than the passing reference which is all 
that is possible in a work of this nature. 

Simla ranks first in importance by reason of its selec- 
tion as the summer residence of the Viceroy, and the seat 
of the supreme Government as well as that of the Punjab 

126 . INDIA 

administration. By the last census returns Simla was 
credited with 30,000 inhabitants, of whom 4000 are Euro- 
peans, and there can be little doubt that the advent of the 
railway, which is even now in progress, will much increase 
this total. Situated on the sloping spurs of a lofty hill 
called Jakko, there is naturally a great range of elevation 
between the highest and the lowest residences of the town 
— the highest being over 8000 feet (on the summit of 
the hill) and the lowest about 6500. During the early 
summer months and in the late autumn the climate is 
delightful. The early summer occasionally brings with it 
much of the dust-laden atmosphere which then pervades the 
plains, and the burnt and barren hill-sides are oppressively 
dull in tint and tone, losing all the beauty of colour-per- 
spective ; but under clear autumnal skies the crisp freshness 
of the air and the beauty of the endless panorama of 
snowy hills, or blue plains spreading away from the glori- 
ous tints of an autumn foreground, are unequalled even in 

Simla is now rapidly developing as a winter residence. 
Snow occasionally lies deep, but the cold is never very 
severe, and many English residents prefer their comfort- 
able homes in the hills to the long and often expensive 
journeys entailed by a return to the plains. The disad- 
vantage of the Himalayan climate is the periodic return 
of the rainy season for a month or two, when the cloud- 
drifts envelop hill and gully, and the moisture - laden 
atmosphere penetrates into every crevice and corner of 
the house, raising a fungus growth which is most detri- 
mental to household property. The rainfall varies in the 
different hill-stations, but it may be taken at an average 
of about 80 inches in the Himalayas, decreasing towards 
the north-west where (as at Murree) the full force of the 
south-west monsoon is not experienced, and increasing 
towards the south-east. The actual rainfall does not, 
however, represent the measure of discomfort which is 
induced by an atmosphere overcharged with damp. The 
shape and position of the minor hill ranges has far more 
to say to the amount of the cloud envelope which is so 


depressing and so detrimental in its effects. One part of a 
station may, indeed, even in the worst seasons, be almost 
entirely free from the grey mist which wraps up all the 
rest of it in unbroken fog. 

Next to Simla perhaps Mussoorie takes rank in im- 
portance as a hill-station. It is infinitely more accessible 
from the plains, a ride of seven miles being all that 
intervenes between Rajpur, at the foot of the hills, and 
the town above, whilst fifty-eight miles of driving road 
have to be traversed in order to reach Simla from Kalka. 
Kalka is, however, connected with the great railway 
systems of the plains, whilst Rajpur is still some forty- 
eight miles from the railway terminus at Saharanpur. 1 
Eventually both stations will (like Darjiling on the south- 
east) possess their own railway facilities. 

The distinguishing feature of Mussoorie, which is a 
station of the North-West Provinces but not the seat of 
the provincial Government, is its direct connection with 
the elevated valley of Dehra Dun, which lies between the 
foot of the Himalaya and the sibsidiary Siwalik range, 
immediately below the station. The Dun is one of the 
gardens of India, approaching Kashmir in its fertility and 
possible agricultural resources. It is already the centre 
of a considerable group of tea estates, although tea culti- 
vation has hardly proved the success in these northern 
latitudes that it has on the outer slopes below Darjiling, 
in Assam, or in Ceylon. A very large colony of Eurasians 
and a few Europeans have settled in Dehra Dun, which 
possesses an equable climate, ready access to a hill-station, 
and some of the most beautiful scenery to be found in 
Northern India. The large forest reserves in the valley 
have also tended towards the development and preserva- 
tion of game, whilst the resources of the Dun streams 
in fishing have ever been celebrated. Herds of elephants 
still roam through the jungles of the Eastern Dun, and 
tigers are occasionally plentiful. 

Naini Tal, in the Kumaon district, is a very popular 

1 The railway terminus is now (1903) at Dehra Dun, a few miles only from 
Rajpur, and the line to Simla is advancing rapidly. 

128 INDIA 

hill-station, and the seat of the local Government of the 
North-West Provinces. It is easily accessible from its 
satellite station at the foot of the hills, Kathgodam, which 
is a railway terminus. But Naini Tal is a cramped little 
place, shut in round the lake which gives it its name, and 
incapable of expansion in its own immediate vicinity. 
The shaly nature of the surface rocks on some sections 
of the hill-sides has given Naini Tal an unenviable notoriety 
as the scene of some disastrous landslips. Naini Tal 
leads to the military cantonments of Ranikhet and 
Almorah, and outside its own little circle of hills there is 
possibility of developing further sites suitable to European 

Darjiling is the hill-station par excellence of Calcutta 
and Bengal, and enjoys the advantage of direct railway 
communication with the plains. Of its great natural 
beauty I have already spoken. But its rainfall is ex- 
cessive, and its climate lacks the bracing qualities of that 
of the north-west. 

Murree is on the extreme north-west. It is the station 
of the Punjab, and, with a series of minor stations called 
" gullies" (from "galli," a neck or spur), proves a most 
delightful resort for the over-worked and over-heated 
Punjab official. It is connected with Rawal Pindi by 
about fifty miles of good carriage road. The charac- 
teristics of Murree scenery (particularly of the " gullies ") 
are those of Kashmir, of which country it forms, as it 
were, the commercial base. Much of the trade of Kashmir 
(in which fruit is a predominant feature) passes down 
the highroad leading through Murree to the plains ; 
countless loads of apples being yearly exported to the 
Punjab ; and it is through Murree that Srinagar is supplied 
with European goods, and its yearly stream of European 

There are many other minor Himalayan stations, 
some of them purely military, others (as for instance 
the settlements in that most charming of sub-Himalayan 
valleys, Kulu) purely agricultural, each possessing its 
own special locaj advantages in climate and position^ to 


which it is not possible to re£er in detail. Of most of 
them it may be said that they are but partially fitted to 
the full requirements of European colonisation, although 
they are the " staff of life " to the Indian official. To this 
general statement two possible exceptions may be made. 
Kashmir possesses already a resident population of Euro- 
peans, and there indeed permanent settlements may eventu- 
ally develop under more enlightened administration than 
exists at present ; and in Kulu, again, a tea-growing and 
fruit-cultivating community exists, which is almost ana- 
logous to a colony. But the Kulu Valley is too restricted 
in size to serve as an experiment of any value from which 
to form conclusive deductions. 

Kashmir has been a fruitful source of literature from time immemo- 
rial, but not much has been written illustrative of its physical configura- 
tion. Again, the Indian Survey reports are chiefly responsible for the 
opinions expressed in this chapter. Godwin-Austen, Tanner, Mont- 
gomerie, and others have all contributed to an accurate knowledge of 
the construction of the Kashmir mountain systems on both sides the 
Indus. A. Durand and Knight have written charming books on the 
scenery and the ethnographical characteristics of the remoter districts of 
Gilgit and the trans-Indus. The occupation of Chitral opened up a 
large area for fresh inquiry. Griesbach and Lydekker have examined 
its chief geological features. Leitner investigated the languages and 
ethnography of the Indus basin, and has written some learned treatises 
on the subject in the Indian Antiquary. But the best book on Kashmir 
for the study of the ordinary reader is by W. R. Lawrence (" The Valley 
of Kashmir"), which gives a comprehensive account of the chief features 
of the state in comparatively modern times. Kashmir is full of archaeo- 
logical interest. This subject is fully dealt with in the Archaeological 
Records of India, and is referred to on broader lines in Fergusson's 
" History of Indian Architecture." For Himalayan studies the reader is 
referred to the standard works of Sir J. Strachey and Sir W. W. Hunter ; 
to contributions to the Royal Geographical Society 's Journal by Sir R. 
Strachey, Godwin-Austen, and Tanner. Oldham and Griesbach have 
written of the geological evolution of these stupendous mountains ; Sir 
Martin Conway and Mr. Douglas Freshfield have made the extreme 
north-west and the extreme south-east familiar in more recent works. 



Statistics. — India, including Burma and the native states, possesses a total area 
of nearly 1,600,000 square miles, and 287,000,000 inhabitants; reckoned by 
the census of 189 1. 

SOUTH of the Himalayas India may be divided roughly 
into two parts : firstly, the area embraced by the 
great alluvial plains of the north, which include the 
Punjab, Rajputana, and Sind on the north-west, the 
United Provinces in the centre, and a great part of the 
Bengal province with the deltas of the Brahmaputra 
and the Ganges on the north-east ; and secondly, the 
highlands of Central India and the low alluvial tracts of 
the south. The great northern area of low-lying plain 
reaches from the Himalayas to the Indian Ocean on the 
west, and to the Bay of Bengal on the east, and includes 
the main arteries of the great river systems of the Indus, 
the Ganges and the lower Brahmaputra. "The Indo- 
Gangetic plain comprises the richest, the most fertile, the 
most populous, and historically the most famous countries 
of India. It covers more than 500,000 square miles, an 
area as large as France, the German and Austrian Empires, 
and Italy, and it contains 160 millions of people." " The 
alluvial deposits of which it is composed are so com- 
minuted that it is no exaggeration to say that it is possible 
to go from the Bay of Bengal up the Ganges, through the 
Punjab, and down the Indus again to the sea, over a 
distance of 2000 miles and more, without finding a pebble, 
however small." * 

Differing widely in its physical characteristics from 
Northern India, the second great natural division comprises 

1 Strachey's " India," chap. i. 


the provinces of Madras and Bombay, the Central Pro- 
vinces, and some of the chief native states of India. It is 
separated by no sharply defined line from the north, the 
plains of the northern states gradually rising in broken 
and irregular steps to the crest of the Vindhya and Satpura 
Mountains, and maintaining an average of 1500 feet south 
of the Narbada across the central tableland to Mysore, 
where it attains to 3000 feet or more. These central 
highlands, which include vast primeval forests cover- 
ing rugged hill tracts intersected by wide valleys with 
gentle slopes, is depressed towards the east, and is 
bounded on either side by well-defined ridges of higher 
altitude, which appear as ranges when viewed from the 
sea, and follow approximately the line of coast curvature, 
leaving a broad strip of level coast between their lower 
spurs and the sea. These bounding edges of hill country 
are termed the Eastern and the Western Ghats respectively. 
The plateau slopes to the east and south-east, so that the 
Eastern Ghats are of no great altitude, being about 1000 
feet above sea-level, and there is little or no fall from 
their crests westward, but the Western Ghats adopt the 
formation of a distinct anticlinal with more decision ; and 
though irregularly piled together where they first commence 
to take shape south of the Narbada, they gradually con- 
solidate and finally rise to an altitude of nearly 8000 feet in 
the south, where they culminate in the Sispara peaks of the 
Nilgiris. The deep blue tone assumed by these magni- 
ficent grass-covered hills, when the south-west monsoon 
sweeps across their crests and breaks on their western 
slopes, gives peculiar force to the name — Nilgiris, or 
Blue Mountains. South of the Nilgiris the Western 
Ghats continue in the formation of a mountain range, 
receding, however, from the coast, and leaving the low 
level state of Travancore between themselves and the sea, 
until they terminate near Cape Comorin. 

The Eastern Ghats commence to round off westward 
from a point not far north of Madras, and with broken 
outline fall back from the coast until they merge into the 
southern buttresses of the Nilgiris, leaving the broad plains 

132 INDIA 

of the Karnatic to stretch almost unbroken to the Bay of 

To the north of the line of the Western Ghats, but 
thrown back at an angle which gives them a north-easterly 
and south-westerly trend, is an isolated range, flanking the 
eastern deserts of Rajputana and dividing them from the 
native states of Central India, called the Aravalli range, 
the primeval range of India. Mount Abu (the highest 
point of the range) is 5000 feet above sea- level, an altitude 
which ensures a climate suitable for the small hill-station 
which occupies the highest slopes and clusters round the 
ancient rock cut temples, overlooking vast stretches of 
plain to east and west. The Aravalli is but the most 
southern link of a system in which straight rocky ridges, 
more or less isolated by stretches of intervening sand, 
follow the same strike and crop up in parallel lines of 
small elevation through the length of Eastern Rajputana. 
In general appearance this formation is that of a range, 
connected and continuous, but which has been over- 
whelmed by an encroaching sand sea. The flood of sand 
has filled up its valleys, and drifted in long smooth slopes 
against its crest until it has left nothing but lines of narrow 
jagged peaks to mark its position. The Vindhyas, the 
Aravalli range, the Western Ghats, and the Nilgiris, with 
the final southern extension culminating in the Anamali 
Hills, are the chief mountain masses of the Indian Penin- 
sula south of the Himalayas. Hidden amongst them are 
many spots of rare beauty, many a group of magnificent 
peaks clothed with an infinite variety of forest vegetation, 
the recesses of which are known but to the district official, 
the sportsman, or the forest officer. 

The river systems of India may be grouped as 
follows : — 

(1) The Indus system on the north-west. 

(2) The Ganges and Brahmaputra on the north-east. 

(3) The Narbada, Tapti, Son, and Mahanadi in the 
central group. 

(4) The Godavari, Kistna and others in the southern, 


Some of the upper affluents of the Indus have been 
already mentioned in connection with Afghanistan and 
Kashmir, so that west of the Indus we need but consider 
those western tributaries which are derived from the 
basins of the Kabul, the Kuram, the Tochi, and the 
Gomal. These are all closely connected with the military 
policy of our frontier ; all of them afford means of com- 
munication between India and the trans-border districts, 
and are much more important to us as military highways 
than as channels of commerce with Central Asia. As they 
drain the slopes of mountainous regions they run in fixed 
channels, passing over rocky beds, often as mountain 
torrents, and always with a rapid and dangerous current 
when under the influence of floods caused by melting 
snow or by heavy rain in the hills about them. On 
emerging into the open plain of the Derajat, the Kuram, 
Tochi, and Gomal pass through beds of alluvial soil which 
tends to a constant shifting of their channels ; but as the 
distance from their debouchment into the plains to their 
junction with the Indus is short, such changes are 
comparatively unimportant. The Kabul River and its 
mountain-bred tributaries, the Kunar and the Swat, also 
flow through well-fixed channels with little apparent 
variation from century to century. But when we examine 
the Indus and its great Punjab branches, we find that 
in their character as rivers of the plains they evince a 
constant tendency to shift their positions from one bed to 
another. So long as they are rivers of the hills they obey 
the same laws as are common to" all hill streams. The 
spurs of the mountains hold them in their rocky channels, 
and not even the influence of vast landslips, blocking their 
way and forming deep reservoirs, has any serious disturb- 
ing effect on the course they run. Under favourable con- 
ditions they change their grade, filling up the valleys with 
detritus ; and, cutting back at their sources, capture fresh 
areas from the highlands. It not infrequently happens, 
indeed, that the entire flow of the Indus is held up by a 
mighty barrier of fallen rocks and debris, and the narrow 
channel above the fall rapidly deepens to a reservoir from 



which but a very small outflow permeates the retaining 
wall of debris into the lower course of the river. In due 
time this barrier gives way to the pressure caused by the 
influence of floods in the upper branches of the river 
basin, and with terrific violence the escaping torrents pour 

Fig. 40. 

down through their usual waterway, carrying everything 
before them with resistless force. Then the lower valleys 
become inundated, and lives are lost and property de- 
stroyed ere the river resumes its normal level again. 

The source of the Indus (as already pointed out) lies 
in a lacustrine region in Western Tibet, from whence 
also issue the first beginnings of the Sutlej and the Brah- 


maputra, and which is not far removed from the source 
of the largest affluent (sometimes reckoned as the main 
stream) of the Ganges. Enclosed between the Indus and 
the Sutlej, the three other great rivers of the Punjab, the 
Jehlam (Jehlum), the Chenab, and the Ravi rise ; the head 
of the Jehlam (which is largely increased in volume by 
the Sind and Kishenganga affluents) lies in the heart of 
Kashmir, and the Chenab and Ravi take their rise from 
contiguous sources east of the little Rajput state of Chamba. 
All these rivers have one feature in common. They all 
lead off in a north-westerly direction before shaping their 
course to the south-west to sweep through the plains of 
the Punjab. We are so apt to regard the Indus as a 
gigantic waterway passing south-west through the alluvial 
flats of the Punjab and the sands of Sind, that we con- 
stantly overlook the fact that at least one-third of its 
course of over 1500 miles is towards the north-west. 

All the Punjab rivers derive their main water-supply 
from the snows and mountain torrents of the Himalayas, 
and all are liable to their periodic seasons of flood when 
the snows melt off the higher ranges during Ihe late 
summer, and the monsoon at the same time brings up its 
warm vapour-bearing currents to burst against the cool 
summits of the peaks overlooking their sources. Then 
(about July and August) comes the rush of life-giving 
water to the steaming plains ; then is the anxious time 
for the engineer and bridge-maker ; then the swelling 
brown torrent spreads across miles of river bed, curling 
and eddying with resistless sweep against piers and 
abutments, licking the neck of the bridge supports, and 
bringing down heavy batteries of floating timber and up- 
rooted trees. The flood action of all these Punjab rivers 
is the same. There are no restraining natural revetments 
to keep the river within bounds, nothing set by Nature to 
prevent its carving out a fresh channel for itself in the 
soft alluvial soil, and forsaking its old waterway and dis- 
carding its bridges (if they prove obstructive), taking up 
an entirely new position. And this would happen yearly 
but for the artificial constructions which are engineered 

t 3 6 INDIA 

on its banks for miles above the bridges to keep the 
current in a permanent channel. 

Occasionally an accident directs the destinies of the 
stream. A loop in the Indus was formed above Dera 
Ismail Khan some years ago, which, had it ^straightened 
itself out, would have cut the station in two. Houses 
were forsaken or sold for an old song, and it certainly 
appeared as if the place was doomed. But a tree fell in, 
up stream, some distance from the city, and the accumu- 
lation of drift sand and debris against the fallen tree 
formed a natural abutment which shifted the corroding 
current into a new direction, and saved the cantonment. 

All the Punjab rivers east of the Indus, including the 
Beas, open out into a wide network of channels on leaving 
the hills, and maintain this formation to the end. In the 
early dry months of summer these channels are frequently 
nothing but wide white spaces of shimmering sand, with 
here and there a narrow ribbon of gleaming water per- 
meating the width of river bed, and offering no difficulty 
to the passer by, except where the main channel, narrowed 
to the dimension of a rivulet, may perchance present an 
unfordable obstacle. Here the ferry is to be found, and 
flat-bottomed boats of picturesque construction assist the 
wayfarer. Crossing a Punjab river in the hot months, 
when a furnace blast stirs up the sand and sends it 
swirling across the river flats, is a dry and bitter expe- 
rience. Crossing it when a wide torrent of rolling flood 
sweeps southward, carrying on its crest destructive snags 
and the circling evidences of dangerous eddies, is not so 
unpleasant, but it is more risky. 

The network of the Punjab waterways is completed 
thus — the Beas joins the Sutlej near the historic field 
of Sobraon ; the Ravi (the river of Lahore) and the 
Jehlam both join the Chenab, and the three together 
unite with the Sutlej some 60 miles south of Multan 
(the city of the Chenab), the whole system becoming 
one with the Indus about 48 miles south of the 
last junction. I have said that all the Punjab rivers 
east of the Indus flow in alluvial channels from the 


time they leave the hills. So does the Indus itself 
at first, for it spreads into a network of channels as it 
crosses the Peshawur Valley. But its channel is con- 
stricted again to one main stream after receiving the 
Kabul River at Attok, and the river thenceforward flows in 
a rocky bed (which narrows to a gorge below Attok) for 
some 70 miles, until it emerges from the defiles between 
the cliffs of the Kohat district on its western bank and 
the abutment of the Salt range of Rawal Pindi on the east, 
and passes the salt-built town of Kalabagh. 

Throughout these enclosed reaches of the river the 
narrow rock passages are magnificent in the wildness and 
the weirdness of their scenery. 

The road connecting our frontier post of Kohat with 
the railway system of the Punjab crosses the river by 
a bridge of boats about half-way between Attok and 
Kalabagh. South of Kalabagh the river again opens out 
into countless channels, which are constantly shifting and 
changing their position under the influence of the yearly 
floods. The general tendency of the main branch of the 
river is to shift westward, and it is this process which so 
nearly demolished the town of Dera Ismail Khan. From 
Dera Ismail Khan, southwards, the river is navigable for 
the flat-bottomed steamers of the Indus flotilla. The 
character of the Indus remains unchanged till it crosses 
the Sind frontier on leaving the Punjab, some 60 miles 
below the junction of the Punjab rivers, now united in 
the Chenab. Here, at Kasmur, a great engineering 
scheme has arranged for the storage of the yearly over- 
flow for distribution in the form of irrigation through 
that part of Sind which lies between the river and the 
Baluch Mountains. At Sukkur the channel is so enclosed 
and narrowed that, with the assistance of a rocky island in 
its midst, the river has been spanned by a magnificent 
bridge in two spans. This bridge carries the line of the 
North-Western Railway from the left, or eastern, to the 
right bank of the river, which it follows till it reaches 

From Sukkur southward the river again pursues an 

138 INDIA 

open course in a wide bed of alluvial soil for about 600 
miles till the Sind frontier hills touch its western banks. 
At this point the Indus has shifted as far west as is 
possible under the conditions of the hill conformation 
which there obtain, and it becomes confined to a more or 
less permanent channel until it enters the great delta 
south of Haidarabad. 

The delta of the Indus is riddled with ancient 
channels to the east of the position of the present main 
stream, and it is almost within historic times that one of 

Fig. 41. — Indus Delta showing Ancient Channels of the Indus. 

these, the Puran, carried the main waters of the river to 
the Rann of Kach, 70 miles to the east of its present 
debouchment. Very interesting are certain local legends 
that account for the rift in the beds of lime and con- 
glomerate, the formation of which is said to have deflected 
the Indus into its present channel from the ancient bed of 
the Nara at Sukkur. " Hakro," says General Haig, " is a 
name in modern times restricted to the lower part of what 
has become a flood channel of the Indus, and is now 
known as the Nara (officially, Eastern Nara), but it once 
belonged to an entirely independent river of which the 
Nara channel formed a part. The course of this river 
may be traced throughout Sind, in the far north of which 


it bears the name of Wandan ; through Bhawalpur, where 
the name Hakro reappears, . . . thence through the north 
of Bikanir, and onwards beyond Rajputana to the foot of 
the Himalaya." Whether this river can be identified 
with an ancient course of the Sutlej, or can be connected 
with the Ghaggar east of the Sutlej (which now disappears 
in the sands of Rajputana), rather than with the Indus, 
may still be questioned ; but General Haig considers that 
11 it is certain that the Hakro of lower Sind was formerly 
a part of the course of an independent stream, the drying 
up of which has been calamitous, not only in reducing 
thousands of square miles of once fertile land and in- 
habited country to waste and solitude, but also in forcing 
a vast additional body of water into the already over- 
charged channel of the Indus, thus enormously increasing 
the risk of desolating floods along the lower course of that 

The risk of desolating floods is still further increased 
by the action of the river in depositing vast quantities of 
silt, which have a tendency to gradually raise the level of 
the channel. Thus the Indus and other Himalayan-bred 
rivers liable to yearly flood usually acquire a channel 
level which is considerably higher than the plains on 
either side of them, and the area of land subject to inun- 
dation is thereby enormously increased. The floods of 
the Indus extend to the foot of the Baluchistan hills, and 
it is no uncommon occurrence for the line of railway 
connecting Jacobabad with Quetta to be so deep under 
water as to render it impossible to maintain traffic. The 
remains of Indus-built boats have been dug up far to the 
west of Jacobabad, and these relics are old enough to 
indicate either that the deep-water Indus floods have 
spread through the Kachi of Gandava from very ancient 
days, or that there was once a western branch of the river. 

In direct connection with the river systems of India 
we may well consider the general geographical conforma- 
tion of those districts which they water and sustain. 

The Punjab, the native state of Bhawalpur, Rajputana, 
and Sind are all of them within the Indus basin ; all of 



them are subject to similar climatic conditions at the same 
periodic intervals. There is also much similarity in their 
conformation, for they all form part of that great Indo- 
Gangetic plain which stretches from the Arabian Sea to 
the Bay of Bengal. The Punjab extends east and west 
from the frontier hills west of the Indus to the Jumna 

ABOVE 6000 rfg£ IOO0 ■ 20O0F r \ZZ 'i% 
3000 6000 -i.': J 600 IOOO" Wl".% 
2000 3000 ■■ UT\B£L OW 600" 1 \ \ I «^ 

Fig. 42. — The Rivers of the Punjab. 

River, and from the Himalayas on the north to the plains 
and deserts of Bhawalpur and Rajputana on the south. 
The city of Delhi is on its extreme eastern frontier, and 
Simla, together with certain hill states which' lie to the 
north of Simla, is included within Punjab administration. 
Omitting these Himalayan states, the Punjab, within the 
five rivers, consist of a series of wide flat plains — called 
Doab — extending in unbroken succession to Rajputana 


and Sind. All the southern districts of the Punjab are 
flat : the eye rests on nothing but a wide vista of mono- 
tonous dust-coloured plain, or on vast stretches of wheat 
cultivation, according to the season of the year. Between 
Lahore and Multan a dreary expanse of sandy waste, 
supporting a scattered jungle of undersized trees and 
scrub (chiefly tamarisk), is the distinguishing feature of 
the country bordering the railway on either side. Similar 
characteristics prevail throughout the Doab tracts between 
the Punjab rivers from the Sutlej to the Indus. Only 
when approaching the riverain, or a district subject to 
flood or irrigation, is there any marked change in the 
scenery. Then indeed close set fields and a wealth 
of trees and hamlets indicates the productive nature of 
the alluvial soil when sufficient water for cultivation is 
available. Parts of the Chenab and the Indus, near their 
junction, are so thickly bordered with trees as to remind 
one of the ancient tradition of forests on the Indus ; and 
lower, about the Sind reaches of the river, are many 
square miles of tamarisk jungle which much more nearly 
approach a forest growth than do the scattered and ragged 
jungles of the north country. 

In the extreme north of the Punjab, the districts of 
Rawal Pindi and of Peshawur, west of the Jehlam, as well 
as the northerly extension into the hills east of the Indus, 
which includes the Khagan Valley, are all hill districts 
with characteristics entirely distinct from the Doab. The 
dividing line is near the Salt range, which practically 
extends across the Indus from the southern Kohat district 
to Pind Dadun Khan on the Jehlam. North of this 
remarkable feature (which contains an unexhaustible 
supply of salt underlying multicoloured clays and sand- 
drifts of recent formation) there is a vast network 
of broken ground intersected by ravines and nullahs. 
These enclose the railway from Jehlam to Rawal Pindi, 
and surround the latter city with an almost impassable 
maze of intricate ground. Farther north the Peshawur 
Valley opens out into a comparatively level plain — a plain 
which is highly cultivated and covered with tree growth — 

142 INDIA 

of which it is difficult to realise that it ever supported the 
swamps and grass jungles in which the rhinoceros was 
hunted less than four centuries ago. 

Excepting this northern district beyond the Salt range, 
the plains of the Punjab retain their characteristic flatness 
until they merge into the sands of Rajputana and the Sind 

The general aspect of Eastern Sind is much the same 
as that of Rajputana, more inhospitable and waste than 
anything to be found in the Punjab, and subject to the 
scorching influences of the fiercest heat without the modi- 
fications of a fair rainfall. The desert nature of all this 
part of India culminates in the dreary expanse of the Rami 
of Kach, which may be described as a great salt waste 
struggling towards a final reclamation from the sea, not 
yet fully accomplished. 

The Derajat, which forms the upper portion of that 
strip of trans-Indus territory which reaches from Peshawur 
to Karachi, and the trans-Indus districts of Sind have 
been largely brought under the influence of irrigation, 
and our frontier stations from Kohat to Jacobabad are all 
of them buried in trees and surrounded with an area of 
most highly developed cultivation. It would be difficult 
to imagine a scene of fresher luxuriance than may be 
found in the neighbourhood of any of these stations in 
the spring months of the year. 

Of all the river systems of India the Gangetic is the 
most important, for it waters the most populous, the 
wealthiest, and the most famous provinces of the Indian 
Empire, including within its basin the North-West Pro- 
vinces, 1 Oudh, and a great part of Bengal. Closely con- 
nected with it as a river system is the province of Assam, 
for the Brahmaputra, which is the central river and main 
channel of communication within that province, unites 
with the Ganges some 75 miles above its mouth, and 
assists it to fertilise lower Bengal. The chief tributaries 
of the Ganges are the Jumna, which rises west of it in the 
central chain of the Himalayas and joins at Allahabad ; the 

1 The North- West Provinces and Oudh are now the " United Provinces." 


x 43 

Ghagra, and the Gandak. The Gandak, which might almost 
rank as the main stream, joins the Ganges near Patna. 
The Ghagra, under various names, drains the western 
borderland of Nepal, and a branch of it forms the bound- 
ary between Nepal and Kumaon on the east of the latter 
district. The Jumna marks the western boundary of 
Kumaon and separates it from what are usually called the 
Simla hill states. 

The Gandak, as already noted, rises not far from the 

Fig. 43. — The Upper Gangetic Basin. 

sources of the Brahmaputra, and carries more water to 
the plains than does the Ganges itself. Within the Hima- 
layas both the Jumna and the many-headed Ganges are hill 
torrents, flowing over beds of rock and boulder, break- 
ing into cataracts, and assuming all the picturesque phases 
of mountain rivers ; but from where they enter the plains, 
and until they reach the sea, they pursue a wide and 
uneventful career of land-making and irrigation, spreading 
over the flat alluvial soil in times of flood, and narrowing 

i 4 4 


to an intricate network of small channels circling round 
huge sand spots and islets in times of drought — yet 
never failing altogether. The Ganges still retains the 
sanctity that Brahmanism has accorded to it through all 
ages. Hardwar, at the point where the river leaves the 

7$*- Construction 

Fig. 44. — Northern India Railway Communication. 

Himalayas, is still the sacred city, the great city of 
pilgrimage, and of that ablution which washes away 
sin. It is still the central attraction of vast crowds of 
worshippers who congregate at the yearly mela, or fair. 
But it is said that its days as the holy river of India 
are numbered, and that its saving graces are soon to be 
transferred to the Narbada. 

The fall in the Ganges river bed from the Himalayan 

ABOVE 3000 F T Hi 

100O-3O0O " HH3 

200 IOOO - HIB 

UNDER 200 " mmD 

100 Miles 

Fig. 45. — The Lower Brahmaputra and Gangetic Delta. 

146 INDIA 

exit to the sea may be reckoned at 1 foot per mile, a 
gradient which does not interfere with the navigation of 
its lower reaches, and allows the river to slide in solemn 
majesty to its destination. The part which the Jumna 
and the Ganges take as fertilising agents, enriching the 
soil of thousands of acres of otherwise unproductive 
country by means of the magnificent canal system to 
which they give rise, will be dealt with elsewhere. In 
the lower part of its basin the level flats of lower Bengal 
are so freely watered by countless natural channels that 
artificial irrigation becomes unnecessary. 

The Brahmaputra, from its debouchment into the 
plains of Assam to its junction with the Ganges, is very 
similar in its general characteristics to the latter river, 
although the districts which it drains in North-Eastern 
Assam, and (through the agency of its great tributary, the 
Megna) in Southern Assam, are widely distinct from the 
flat alluvial plains which border the Ganges. The 
Brahmaputra is a majestic river when it rolls in full 
flood down the comparatively narrow valley of Assam. 
The distance from bank to bank is often counted by 
miles ; and the dense forest-clad slopes of the lower 
Himalayas to the north, beyond the wide swampy grass 
jungles of the Doars (the Terai of the eastern frontier), 
through which flow the Teesta from Darjiling, and the 
Monas from Bhutan, together form with the hills of the 
Khasia and Garo plateaux on the south, an impressive 
setting to its broad solemnity. Such effects are wanting 
in the sandy flats about the Ganges. That the channels 
of all the great rivers of the Gangetic plain are constantly 
shifting and changing hardly needs assertion, but there is 
no record of any general change of the bed of the entire 
river, or of its displacement for scores of miles, such as is 
apparent in the Indus. The Brahmaputra has no room 
for any large changes of this nature ; but in the low- 
lying delta lands of the combined rivers, channels shift 
and change so often that it is probable that no general 
map would define them correctly for more than a year 
or two. 


The United Provinces (which are drained and irri- 
gated by the Ganges system) cover together 106,000 
square miles, and include a population of 44,000,000. 
" There is no country in Europe in which the popula- 
tion is so dense ; the average number of persons to 
the square mile in England and Wales is 446, in the 
United Provinces it is 460. No other Indian province 
is so thickly peopled ; in Bengal, which most nearly 
approaches it, the average number to the square mile 
is 360." " This has been for ages the most famous 
part of India. In prehistoric times it was the Central 
or Middle Land, the Madhya-desha of the sacred books 
of the Hindus and of the ancient poets, the abode of 
the solar and lunar races, and of the gods and heroes 
of the Mahabharata and Ramayana. . . . This tract con- 
tains the most holy places of India, Benares, Ajodhya, 
Kanatij, Muttra, and many others : it was here that Bud- 
dha was born, and preached, and died, and it was from 
this centre that his creed spread over a great part of 
the eastern world. In more modern times Hindustan 
was the chief seat of the Muhammadan power. Delhi 
and Agra became the capitals of the Afghan and Moghul 
sovereigns, and although the great majority of the popula- 
tion always remained Hindu, there was for many 
centuries no part of India in which Mussulman authority 
and organisation was so complete. In our own times 
this has been politically the most important part of our 
Indian Empire. ' To the native imagination,' as Mr. 
Keene has observed, ' Hindustan is still the centre of 
India, and Delhi is still the metropolis.' " Thus writes 
Sir John Strachey, who is perhaps the best living autho- 
rity on the subject. In physical conformation there is 
no great difference between the Eastern Punjab and 
the United Provinces. They are all included in one 
vast alluvial plain, of which the unbroken monotony is a 
weariness to contemplate. But the flat ugliness of much 
of the Punjab plain scenery is relieved in the upper 
provinces of the Gangetic basin by the wealth of rich 
cultivation, which during the rains and in the winter 



season, covers the country in one continuous sheet. For 
500 miles there is an unbroken succession of fields, 
orchards, and mango groves surrounding clusters of 
villages, as perfect a picture of rural prosperity as is to 
be found in the world. " It would be difficult to find in 
any part of the world, on so large a scale, a more striking 
prospect of industry and quiet contentment." The 


uNDEtr zoo " que 

Fig. 46. — The Deltaic Channels of the Ganges. 

scenery in Behar, the northern district of the province 
(or lieutenant-governorship) of Bengal does not differ 
largely from that of the North-West. This is the land 
of indigo and opium, probably the only part of India 
where existing traces are still to be found of European 
social existence in the eighteenth century. The district 
of Bengal proper (or Lower Bengal), comprising the 
deltas of the Ganges and Brahmaputra, and the rich low 
tracts between those rivers, possesses a scenery which is 
unique. The land is intersected in all directions by the 


channels and estuaries of the two great rivers, and where 
it borders the sea the labyrinth of creeks is lost amidst 
the dense jungle and forests of the Sundarbans. When 
the yearly inundations occur an immense area is covered 
with water like a sea ; the ordinary method of conveyance 
from one cluster of huts to another is by boat; nothing is to 
be seen of the rice crops but the " ears of grain floating on 
the surface." Rice is the great agricultural staple, and 
in this part of India forms the chief food of the people ; 
but the products of lower Bengal are many and varied, 
and it ranks as the most productive part of the whole 
province. Sir John Strachey thus describes the scenery : 
" A constant succession of admirable pictures is afforded 
by the reaches of the river busy with traffic ; the boats 
with their great sails ; the cocoa-nuts and other palms, 
huge figs, tamarinds, and mangoes, bamboos and 
plantains ; the villages with tanks green with slime and 
water-lilies ; neat cottages covered with creeping 
gourds and cucumbers and melons ; the delicate forms 
of the men and women in scanty but graceful costume 
— these, and a thousand picturesque details, and the 
colouring of its hot and steamy atmosphere, makes 
Bengal one of the most beautiful countries in India. 
Nor is it so disagreeable for Englishmen to live in as 
might be supposed. Although it has not the advantage 
of the pleasantly cold winter of Northern India, the heat 
of the summer is tempered by the greater moisture, and 
by the nearness of the sea. Heat like that of June at 
Agra or Lahore is unknown, and for three or four 
months in the winter the climate is very agreeable." 

The Ganges with its tributaries covers an enormous 
catchment basin, reckoned at 391,100 square miles, be- 
tween the Himalayas and the Vindhyas. Starting at 
13,800 feet above sea-level the river drops to 1024 feet 
at Hardwar in the first 180 miles of its course. Here it 
discharges about 7000 cubic feet per second at its lowest, 
when it is almost entirely absorbed in irrigation. In 
another 1000 miles it collects drainage amounting to 
1,800,000 cubic feet discharge in flood time, so that its 



maximum volume is greater at this point (400 miles from 
the sea) than that of the Mississippi at the end of its 
course. " About 200 miles of the sea-face of Bengal con- 
sists of estuaries of the Ganges intersected by low islands 
and promontories formed out of itself." 1 

Fig. 47. — Central India Orography. 

The most important (if not the largest) tributary is 
the Jumna, which starts at an elevation of 10,850 feet 
above sea at Jamnotri, not far removed from Bhagi- 
rathi, the source of the Ganges. Where the Jumna and 
the Ganges unite (near Allahabad) is the true Prayag, or 
place of pilgrimage, where devout Hindus assemble in 
thousands and are washed and sanctified. The Jumna 

1 Hunter, "India," vol. vi. 


(which in prehistoric days was probably a tributary of 
the Indus) is an important factor in the agricultural de- 
velopment of India, and sustains an immense irrigation 
system ; but neither the Jumna nor any other river of 
India approaches the Ganges in general works of bene- 
ficence. For not only does the Ganges exercise a great 
function as land maker and fertilising agent, but she has 
ever served as the great national highway of India from 
the Bay of Bengal to the north-west. 

Between Agra and Allahabad many a large tributary 
joins the Jumna from the native states of Central India 
which occupy the long northern slopes of the central 
plateau ; and one important river, the Son, unites with 
the Ganges near Patna after draining the north-western 
hills of the Chota Nagpur division of the Bengal province. 
The Central India tributaries all take their rise from the 
crest of the Vindhya hills overlooking the deep valley of 
the Narbada. The Son rises in the historic mountains of 
Amarkantak, from whence also the Narbada takes its rise 
and flows westward ; thus these two rivers together form 
a transverse system right across India from Patna to 
Broach, which has practically no northern basin or 
"catchment area" at all. On the southern slopes of the 
mass of elevated tableland which culminates at Amar- 
kantak commence also the headwaters of some tributaries 
of these great rivers, which find their exit in the Bay of 
Bengal, i.e. of the Mahanadi and the Godavari. 

Central India and that part of the Bengal province 
which is included in Chota (or Chutia) Nagpur is infinitely 
varied in its general appearance and character. Here com- 
mences the forest country, which with occasional modifica- 
tions covers the whole of the eastern highlands of India. 

In Central India the hills are broken and separated 
into groups and clusters, rising some hundreds of feet 
(seldom more than 1000) above the general level of the 
tableland, which is itself from 1500 to 2000 above sea- 
level. Often these hills are marked by precipitous cliffs 
surrounding their summits, and rendering all efforts to 
approach them difficult and dangerous. Hundreds of 

152 INDIA 

fortresses have at one time or another in history occupied 
the tops of these hills, and each has its own tale to 
tell of the days when security was only to be found in 
such strongholds. But between the hills very wide 
stretches of land are cultivated — wheat, pulse, opium, 
cotton, and millet being grown much in the same pro- 
portion as in the north-west. Sugar-cane is also largely 
produced. The soil consists largely of a species of black 
loam called tl cotton " soil, which prevails throughout the 
districts of Central India and the Central Provinces. This 
soil is undermined by flood in the rainy season, and 
broken into innumerable holes and pitfalls ; the surface 
water during the rains usually finding a readier method 
of drainage straight through the friable soil than by col- 
lecting in rivulets and streams, and finally making its way 
to the rivers. The hills are almost invariably clothed in 
a thick tangle of acacia jungle, amidst which are many 
forest-trees, the well-known " pipal " and " banian " being 
conspicuous ; with teak, sal, mahogany, tamarind, &c, in 
fair abundance. Central India, flanked, as it is, by the 
sands of Rajputana on one side and the dense forest- 
growth of the Central Provinces on the other, partially 
assumes the physical characteristics of both. It is not a 
forest-clad country, but there are many square miles of 
forest land to be found in it. The great cultivated flats 
of the Central India tableland are broken and intersected 
here and there with deep ravines and gorges (locally 
called u Kho "), which, by reason of their comparative 
isolation form most admirable game preserves. The big 
game shooting of Central India has always been famous 
amongst sportsmen, but of late years the chiefs of the 
native states which form the province or " agency " have 
adopted methods of strict game preservation which places 
it beyond the reach of all but a few favoured officials. 
Writing with some experience of the fascination of the 
hills and jungles of Central India we can say that no part of 
India contains more charming country, or is possessed of a 
more perfect climate than is to be found amongst those wild 
stretches of forest and plain during the cold weather months. 


Parting the north of India from the south is the long 
trough of the Narbada and the valley of the Son. The 
latter belongs to the Gangetic system, but its character- 
istics are, at any rate in the upper part of its course, much 
the same as those of the Narbada. We have a graphic 
description of the Narbada (which holds its own straight 
course with little assistance from tributaries, either north 
or south) from the pen of Sir Lepel Griffin : " Through 
this country, which is but a network of hills, rising in 
some places to a considerable height, runs in an almost 
straight course the revered and miracle-working stream of 
the Narbada, which, in a few years' time, is to displace 
the Ganges itself in the religious estimation of the Hindus. 
Of all the rivers in India there is probably no one which 
is surrounded by more romance and mystic interest than 
the Narbada, whilst, for strange and fantastic beauty, it 
takes high rank amongst the celebrated rivers of the 
world ; but its beauties are little known to English travel- 
lers. A few may perhaps see it where it falls into the 
Gulf of Cambay, below Broach ; some may cross it at 
Hoshangabad or at Mortakka, where the branch lines to 
Rajputana, Bhopal, and Gwalior leave the main line of 
the Great Indian Peninsula Railway. A large number of 
tourists halting at Jabalpur, which is, as it were, the very 
centre and omphalos of India, spend a few hours in visiting 
the holy river, which here flows through marble rocks of 
some, though exaggerated, beauty, and beyond this the 
sight-seeing traveller knows nothing of the Narbada, al- 
though its course is everywhere beautiful from its rise at 
Amarkantak, at the southernmost point of the Rewah 
state in Central India till, dashing in a thousand rapids 
and whirlpools through the Vindhya and Satpura ranges 
in the Bhil country, it bursts in a broad stream into the 
Bombay plain below. From its birthplace to its grave 
in the sea the Narbada is an object of superstitious vene- 
ration, and in a country like India, where water, to the 
unscientific mind, signifies more than even the sunlight 
and heat, the vivifying principle of Nature which changes 
the desert into a flowering garden, the adoration of 


streams is both natural and appropriate. Amarkantak, 
where the Narbada rises, is one of the most sacred spots 
in India, and in spite of its remoteness and its exceeding 
difficulty of approach, is visited every year by thousands 
of devout Hindus." 

The northern or hill districts of the Central Provinces, 
culminating in the Satpuras, are in general physical con- 
formation and appearance the same as the southern hill 
districts of Central India culminating in the Vindhyas ; 
the former making the southern half, and the latter the 
northern half of the Narbada basin. Wild, picturesque 
jungle-covered hills, closely massed and drained by small 
but clear and rushing hill streams ; inhabited by a wild 
and picturesque race of aboriginal people, unvisited by 
Europeans, and unknown to all but a few officials — 
these are the distinguishing features of the whole district. 
Farther south the Central Provinces (which are often 
confused with the Central India native states, with which 
they have no administrative affinity) open out into more 
extensive flats and tablelands, with a red gravel soil and 
outcrops of laterite, supporting a growth of forest and 
grass which is everywhere abundant and occasionally 
dense, but which often assumes a park-like appearance, 
with scattered groups of trees, and stretches of grassy 
sward. There is no wide extent of alluvial soil here, 
though the black cotton soil pervades the lower levels 
bordering the main streams. The districts around Jabal- 
pur and Nagpur are all much of this nature ; but as 
we move farther south, we rapidly pass into the jungle- 
covered area which stretches, with very little break in the 
endless monotony of ill-grown trees, indifferent grass, 
stunted bamboos, and all varieties of scorched and ill- 
nurtured vegetation, right across Eastern India from the 
Godavari to the Eastern Ghats. This is the region which 
may justly be called " darkest India." Into its recesses 
travellers never penetrate, and even its rivers are com- 
paratively unknown. 

Before touching those river systems which take their 
rise in the Western Ghats and flow across India to the 

156 INDIA 

Bay of Bengal, we must refer to one comparatively minor 
system (although it drains an area about as large as 
France) which includes the waterways of two districts of 
the Bengal Province (Chota Nagpur and Orissa) and of 
the eastern half of the Central Provinces. This is the 
Mahanadi system, which is as complicated and as difficult 
to trace as that of the Narbada is straight and simple. 
The Mahanadi and the Brahmani combined find their 
exit to the sea by a labyrinth of channels intersecting the 
delta to the east of Cuttack. All the characteristics of 
the delta of the Ganges and Brahmaputra are repeated in 
the delta of the Mahanadi. Here, again, we encounter 
wide and water-logged jungles near the coast, backed by 
thousands of acres of rice fields, with all the steamy acces- 
sories of the lower Bengal climate. Here, again, we find 
a mild-mannered and enervated race of people, scantily 
clothed, and passing an amphibious existence from year 
to year, only stirred into occasional bursts of fanatical 
enthusiasm by the rites and ceremonies which attend the 
great Jagannath festival. This most ancient centre of 
Hindu superstition is situated at Pori, on the coast due 
south of Cuttack, and though these prehistoric and mystic 
rites have been shorn of many of their most attractive 
horrors by the determination of an enlightened Govern- 
ment, thousands upon thousands of pilgrims still as- 
semble periodically to do honour to an exhibition of 
Hindu symbolism which they do not in the least under- 

From the highlands immediately south of the Narbada, 
where the Wardah (an important tributary of the Godavari) 
takes its rise and flows southward through the Dekkan, 
another considerable stream also issues on the west, and 
flows parallel to the Narbada to the sea. This is the 
Tapti. Between the upper branches of the river, the 
northern abutment of the Western Ghats forms a high and 
distinct range running east and west to a height of 
4000 feet above the sea. The southern spurs slope 
gently down to the general level of the Dekkan table- 
land, which extends from this range southwards, and, 


from the Tapti Valley southward, is flanked by the Western 
Ghats, which here run to about 3000 feet above sea, and 
about 1000 above the general level of the plateau. 

Passing now to those river systems of the south which 
have their birth in the west and are finally lost in the 
eastern seas — the Godavari, the Kistna (or Krishna), the 
Kavari (Cauvery), and other minor rivers — we find a cer- 
tain general similarity pervading the surroundings of them 
all. All of them flow through the Dekkan highlands for 
a great part of their course, and all of them make their 
final exit to the ocean through the flat alluvial delta 
bordering the coast. 

The Godavari is by far the most important river of 
the central districts of India, and it is by far the most 
comprehensive in the structure of its upper basin. Its 
main branch rises on the west, not far from Bombay, and 
not more than 50 miles from the coast. It has another 
branch (the Wainganga) which rises not far from the 
centre of India, and hardly 50 miles from Jubbulpur ; 
and it has yet another branch (the Indravati) which rises 
about 50 miles from the eastern coast, a little to the 
north of Vizianagram. 

The Godavari is essentially the river of the Dekkan, 
and for two-thirds of its course it passes through the 
dominions of the Nizam of Haidarabad. The tableland 
which forms the upper part of its basin is comparatively 
bare of trees wherever the plain extends. The Western 
Ghats and the southern hills (which contain the sources of 
the Kavari) are well wooded, and some of the small 
valleys enclosed between the barren rocky hills which 
intersect the plain are highly cultivated. Black " cotton " 
soil again prevails over the whole surface of the plateau. 
During the rains it is a grass country, green with cultiva- 
tion ; but in spring and summer the bare, brown, level 
surface is only relieved by clouds of dust, which are 
whirled along by the furnace blasts of the hot wind. 
The heat is extreme. 

Although for the most part the Godavari drains a 
country broken by hills, it is a comparatively wide and 



placid stream for some 200 miles of its course ere reach- 
ing the sea, with no violent fall, and only the obstruction 
caused by the shallowing of the river in crossing two or 

Falms vv Canals * 

Fig. 50. — The Godavari Delta. 

three sections of rocky bed (where it traverses the strike 
of the adjoining hills) bars the way to navigation when 
the river is low. About thirty years ago a scheme was 
initiated for making a permanent channel, navigable by 
the flat-bottomed steamers of the Godavari flotilla at all 

160 INDIA 

seasons of the year ; but the attempt was finally aban- 
doned for uncertain reasons (though the frightful mortality 
which beset the European staff of engineers and workmen 
in these pestiferous jungles may have had much to say to 
it), and the Godavari is now only partially navigable when 
in flood. 

It is only natural that amid the varied scenery which 
borders the river there should occasionally be points of 
great beauty. Perhaps the most striking is to be found 
some 50 miles above Rajmahendri (Rajamundry), where 
the Godavari is steeply enclosed between the Bison range 
(so called from the occasional visits of herds of bison) and 
the hills of Rumpa. Here the steeply-shelving cliffs and 
massed forests of bamboo, teak, tamarind, and fig, with 
scores of other indigenous trees which clothe the lower 
slopes and dip into the river, form a most striking series 
of pictures as the steamer strains up against the stream 
from reach to reach. No part of the Rhine is more pic- 
turesque, although it possesses the added charm (totally 
wanting in the Godavari) of human interest in the quaint 
castles and ruins which dominate the heights on either 

The Indravati, which is entirely a forest-bound river, 
has the attraction of a waterfall of 90 feet where it drops 
into the valley of the Godavari from the highlands of 
jagdalpur, but it possesses otherwise far more attractions 
for the sportsman than it does for the artist. Into the 
domain of the Godavari but few people, except sportsmen, 
penetrate ; and even the few usually confine themselves to 
the western branches of the river, where the Haidarabad 
plateau opens into a less dense continuity of jungle. Into 
the native states of Jaipur (not to be confounded with the 
Jaipur of Rajputana) and Jagdalpur (otherwise called 
Bustar), between the Godavari and the east coast, no 
European ever ventures except under official compulsion. 
These eastern jungles are deadly at nearly all seasons of 
the year. They form the home of the aboriginal Gond 
tribes — who will be described elsewhere. 

With the limited facilities now afforded for navigation, 


the trade of the Godavari is comparatively insignificant. 
Hides and gingelli nuts are the chief products of the lower 
basin, where a scattered population, which lives largely on 
the natural produce of the forest, grows hardly enough 
rice for home consumption. The wealth of the Godavari 
commences with the delta, through which a highly- 
developed system of irrigation has been matured, and has 
proved to be one of the most successful of all Indian irri- 
gation projects. Here, once more, the natural lines of 
communication through the country are the waterways, 
and European officials travel chiefly in boats. Rice and 
tobacco are very largely cultivated, and the latter has 
achieved a reputation equal to that of the more southern 
Trichinopoli growth. Much of it is cultivated on the 
islands (or lunkas) of the river, and " lunka " tobacco has 
long been recognised in the European market as one of 
the best of Indian tobaccos. 

The Kistna rises in the eastern declivities of the 
Western Ghats, and runs about 650 miles to the sea, 
carrying with it the waters of the Bhima from the north 
and the Tongabudra from the south-west. Both are im- 
portant streams. The surface of the Kistna River is too 
low for irrigation purposes ; the river carries but a small 
volume of water, and is unnavigable. Between its de- 
bouchment from the wild hill country which separates its 
lower course from that of the Godavari, and the Godavari 
delta, are districts which are annually inundated by a 
fresh-water lake called the Kolari, which occupies a deep 
depression about the centre of this low-lying tract. In 
the dry weather this lake is about 24 miles long by 
12 in breadth; but when the annual floods from July 
to September raise the level of the two rivers, they 
overflow from both directions into the lake, which then 
becomes 40 to 50 miles long, and spills over the adjacent 
country. Its waters are used for irrigation during the 
dry season, embankments being formed to prevent the 
flood tides from the sea from reaching it. A small but 
navigable river connects it with the sea and carries off the 
surplus water. 


162 INDIA 

The large commercial town of Machlipatnam (Masuli- 
patam) is situated here, this being the only part of the 
eastern coast which is not subject to a surf. Shoal water, 
however, extends for some miles from the coast-line off 
the deltas of the Godavari and Kistna, and prevents ships 
of any size from anchoring near. 

The Kavari (Cauvery) also rises in the Western Ghats, 
the source of one branch being within 30 miles of the 
west coast. For about one-fourth its course it traverses 
the south-west districts of the Maisur plateau, passing 
the famous stronghold of Seringapatam. It then winds 
through a mass of mountains till it reaches the great plain 
of the Karnatic. Here it takes up the Bhawani affluent, 
a river which circles round the southern base of the 
Nilgiris, and thenceforward pursues a placid course to the 
sea. Below Trichinopoli it divides into several branches, 
the most southern and most important of which is called 
the Kalarun (Coleroon). Much of the water of the Kavari 
is exhausted in fertilising its delta, where a quality of rice 
is grown which is considered to be inferior in quality only 
to that of Burdwan. Throughout its upper course in the 
higher levels there is much that is picturesque in the river 
scenery ; the falls of the river (which may be easily 
reached from Bangalore) are equal to any in India in 
point of natural beauty, though the falls of Gairspa on the 
western coast, near Honawar, are higher. 

The Karnatic, which comprises most of the old Madras 
presidency, extending from Cape Comorin to a junction 
with the Orissa division of Bengal, is a long strip of terri- 
tory only averaging 70 to 80 miles in width and narrowing 
towards the north. It is divided (geographically) into a 
northern, central, and southern division, and is further 
recognised on the east and west respectively as Paian 
Ghat (or below the Ghats) and Balaghat (above the Ghats), 
where the line of the Eastern Ghats intersects the province 
through its two northern divisions. Above the Ghats 
(which word is a form of the Sanscrit "gati," a way, or 
path) the climate is modified by three or four thousand 
feet of altitude, and is not unbearable ; below, it is hot, 

ABOVE 3.000 FT 
2000 3.000 " 
/000-2000 " 
600 - JOOO 

UNDER 600 

Fig. 51.— The Coromandel Coast. 

164 INDIA 

moist, and enervating, and relieved only by the daily sea 

There is no town of importance in the northern 
division of the Karnatic, which is but a narrow strip 
adjoining a coast whereon the surf beats continuously ; 
but the central division includes Madras, Arcot, Pondi- 
cherri, and many other important towns ; and the southern 
division maintains the chief wealth of the Madras presi- 
dency. Trichinopoli, Kadalur (Cuddalore), Nagapatnam 
(Negapatam), Tanjore, and many places associated with 
the history of our first occupation of India, are to be 
found in the south. Here also are the best examples of 
Hindu religious architecture, and the seat of much of the 
best art work of the country. The soil of the coast 
districts is an admixture of sand and loam suitable to 
palm growth ; rice is the chief agricultural product of the 
low lands wherever irrigation is possible. On the high- 
lands millet is raised as the staple for food. Sugar, 
cotton, indigo, and tobacco are all grown where the soil 
is favourable. 

The plains of the Karnatic are connected with the flat 
coast districts of Western India by a gap between the 
south-western spurs of the Nilgiris and the southernmost 
extension of the Western Ghats. This extension runs from 
the gap southwards to within 20 miles of Cape Comorin 
in one single range, dividing the native state of Travan- 
core from the Karnatic. Through the gap (called the 
Coimbatore gap) the railway connecting the west and east 
coasts at Beypur and Nagapatam respectively now runs. 

The narrow low strip which borders the west coast of 
India includes the official districts of Malabar (north of 
Travancore), North and South Kanara, and the Konkan. 
Its characteristics are very similar throughout. It is never 
entirely level excepting close to the littoral, and is covered 
with sand and overgrown with cocoa palms. Near the 
foothills of the Western Ghats there is soil suitable for 
rice cultivation, and rice here, as throughout Southern 
India, is the chief agricultural product. The villages are 
mostly perched on the lower spurs of the Western Ghats, 



which rise above them in forest- 
covered ridges where teak and 
sandal wood grow abundantly, 
and form a valuable part of the 
export trade of the west coast. 

The chief towns of the west 
are naturally its seaports, which 
are still numerous, though they 
have lost the importance which 
was attached to them in mediae- 
val days. South of Bombay the 
Portuguese settlement of Goa, 
and the port of Beypur, the 
western terminus of the Madras 
railway, are perhaps the most 
important. Goa is a picturesque 
town too little known to modern 
travellers. It is full of the interest 
of early Portuguese occupation, 
a relic of the past which has 
preserved reminiscences of Al- 
buquerque and his energetic 
methods of propagating Christi- 
anity in Southern India even to 
this day. 

That part of the central 
plateau of India which is called 
the Dekkan requires certain de- 
finition. Commencing on the 
north with the ranges which form 
the southern edge of theNarbada 
Valley it extends southwards to 
the Nilgiris. The Eastern and 
Western Ghats which bound it 
are raised above the general level 
of the plateau, and descend 
steeply to the plains bordering 
the seashore on either side. The 
southern districts of the table- 



3.000 r'tm ]]|\S 



■ m am 



•:::: j>.j,'| 


- 1.000 

"mi (fl In 



'M Mm 1 

Fig. 52. — Malabar Coast 




land including the native state of Maisur (Mysore) are the 
highest, and they are higher on the east than on the west ; 
Bangalore (the capital of Mysore) being over 3000 feet 
above the sea. The greatest depression occurs in the 
regions drained by the Kistna and its tributaries, where 
the level drops to 1000 feet. The general surface of the 
tableland exhibits a level plain from which isolated hills 

ABOVE 3000 F 
■dOOO - 3000 " 
JOOO - 2000 - 

Fig. 53. — The Uplands of Mysore. 

rise here and there, and run to 800 or 900 feet above the 
plain level. Towards the western edge of the tableland 
short spurs extend from the line of the Ghats into the 
plain. These spurs and the isolated hills are often very 
steep and surmounted by precipitous cliffs. On them the 
fortresses (or " droogs ") are built which figured so largely 
in Mahratta history. In the northern districts of the 
Dekkan, which enjoy a specially healthy climate, we 
have three sanataria — or hill-stations — well known to the 

Fig. 154. — The Satpuras and Western Ghdts, 

168 INDIA 

enervated residents of Bombay. Mahableshwar and 
Matheran are favourite resorts in the hot weather months, 
and Poona, the ancient Mahratta capital of the Dekkan, is 
perhaps the most popular station in Bombay during the 
rains. It lies below the level of the Ghats, but like 
Bangalore is high enough to ensure a fairly cool and 
equable climate. 

In the south the Nilgiris form the farthest abutment of 
this central plateau, and their elevation gives opportunity 
for the existence of a group of European colonies which 
are unmatched for the advantages of geographical posi- 
tion by any hill-stations in India. The summit of that 
elevated and somewhat restricted plateau, which is known 
by the collective name of Nilgiris, consists of rolling grass- 
covered downs intersected by clear streams, and broken by 
patches of dense jungle (locally known as " shola ") which 
fill up its depressions and fit into the folds of the hills in 
beautifully moulded curves. The climate of the Nilgiris 
is far more equable than that of the lower spurs of the 
Himalayas. The annual rainfall is much the same as that 
of the Himalayan stations, but it is spread over more 
months in the year, because the Nilgiris fall within the 
influence of both north-east and south-west monsoons. 
Although fruit will not ripen well, flowers of every 
description flourish here as they flourish nowhere else in 
India, and the open grass downs are frequently a blaze of 
colour in spring and early summer. Road communications 
are easy, and the usual mountain drawback of narrow paths 
flanked by dangerous hillsides is almost wanting in the 
central station of Utakamand (Ootacamund). The scenery 
of the Nilgiris is doubtless tame compared to that of the 
Himalayas. This is owing in a large measure to the 
introduction of Australian trees (acacias and gum trees), 
which stiffen the landscape by the regularity of their 
planting, and never appear to be quite at home. But it is 
also due to the want of strong contrast between hill and 
valley. This flatness of effect pervades all but the western 
slopes of the plateau. There, indeed, as one looks across 
the blue sea of the Wainad Hills to the lighter sheen 


of the Western Ocean, whilst deep-shadowed mists steal 
upwards over the western edge of the cliffs and stream 
across the rounded slopes of the plateau, one realises that 
Sispara has a right to the rank in beauty which Turner 
gave it. 

Vast as is the amount of literature on the subject of India generally, 
it is not difficult to select standard works which may be quoted as 
authoritative. First and foremost is Sir W. Hunter's magnificent com- 
pilation, " The Gazetteer of India." Vol. VI., which deals with the 
physiography of India as a whole, is a model of generally concise and 
always lucid information. Sir John Strachey's " India" also treats of 
the physical aspects of the peninsula area, and gives us a picturesque 
conception of the plains of lower Bengal. Articles by Sir W. Hunter 
and Sir Alfred Lyall in the Ency. Brit, and by Sir Lepel Griffin in the 
Asiatic Quarterly Review, will also be found to add something to the 
general view of the chief geographical features of the continent. For 
reference to the process of geological evolution, Oldham is again the 
authority quoted. But the continent of India, equally with its border- 
land, has only recently been accurately surveyed, and the records of the 
Indian Survey Department, with contributions from surveyors to the 
periodicals of the Royal Geographical Society, are the latest support for 
the views expressed in this chapter, which are mainly the result of per- 
sonal observation. 



" Happy is the land which has no history " might well be 
written of the province of Assam, which, since its an- 
nexation from Burma in 1826, has steadily added its 
growth of revenue to the Indian treasury, enlarging its 
agricultural borders from year to year in placid con- 
templation of those events which have stirred the peninsula 
and made modern Indian history. On the north the 
valley of Assam lies under the eastern ridges of the 
Himalayas, where Bhutan and the outlying border of 
Tibet occupy the great mass of the hills, and include some 
of the most irreclaimable and uncivilised of Himalayan 
tribes. On the south the rough tableland of the Khasia 
and Garo hills intervenes between the valley and the 
Cachar districts of Eastern Bengal drained by the Surma, 
ere the Surma joins the Brahmaputra after the latter has 
turned the western flank of the hills. Assam is the valley 
of the Brahmaputra, and it owes its wealth of agricultural 
resources — even its very existence — to that silt-bearing 
river. The Brahmaputra rises, like the Sutlej, near the 
sacred lake of Manasarawar. For 800 or 900 miles it 
flows steadily eastward through Tibet as the Tsan-pu, 
passing to the south of Lhasa, the Tibetan capital. Then, 
turning the eastern flank of the Himalayas, and receiving 
a few Chinese tributaries, it twists into Assam under the 
name of the Dihang. At this eastern bend it takes up 
the Dibang from the north and another stream (which 
is also named Brahmaputra) from the east, and finally, 
as the " Son of Brahma, the creator " (i.e. Brahmaputra), 
it proceeds to increase and fertilise the valley of Assam. 
Its drainage basin is 361,200 square miles, and its mean 
low-water discharge at Gualpara, near the head of the 

I 7 Q 



valley, amounts to 116,500 cubic feet per second. After 
receiving the Subansiri from Tibet the total flood discharge 
must be over 500,000 cubic feet. 

"The Brahmaputra rolls down the Assam valley in a 
vast sheet of water, broken by numerous islands, and 
exhibiting the operations of alluvion and deluvion on 
a gigantic scale." The vast quantity of silt brought from 
the Himalayas is deposited in banks at the smallest 
obstruction, and islands form and re-form in constant suc- 
cession. Broad channels break away, and rejoin the main 
river after wide divergences which are subjected to no 
control. The swamps which closely adjoin the elevated 
alluvial foundation of the 
river bed are flooded in 
the rainy season till the 
lower reaches of the val- 
ley are one vast shining 
sea, from which the hills 
slope up on either side. 
After 450 miles of open 
course the river turns 
the western flank of the 
Khasia Hills. Here it 
becomes the Jamiina for 
180 miles of southerly 

flow across the flat plains of Bengal till it joins the Ganges 
at Goalanda. Then the deltas unite. After the Surma has 
joined from Cachar the united stream of the three great river 
systems takes the name of Meghna and rushes to the sea. 
Gualpara and Dibrugarh are perhaps the best known stations 
of the upper Assam valley, and on the Khasia Hills to the 
south stands the well-known hill sanatarium of Shillong, 
so lately, and so terribly, damaged by earthquake. The 
traffic on the river in Assam is maintained by exports 
of tea (to the value of ij million, sterling per annum), 
timber, rubber, and cotton, with imports chiefly of rice 
for the tea-estate labourers. The tea industry of Assam 
now largely supersedes all other agricultural developments. 

Burma, the land of picturesque rivers and forest-clad 

Fig. 55. — The Bend of the Brahmaputra. 

172 INDIA 

mountains ; of light and colour ; of laughter, song, and 
wooden pagodas, is almost as distinct from India in 
physical and ethnographical characteristics as Australia 
is from England. It has no recognised overland con- 
nection with India. Only by way of the sea can it be 
approached from the west, and this no doubt has con- 
tributed greatly to preserve its mixed nationality from 
recent floods of Aryan immigration. Not that the pro- 
vince of Burma (so lately the Burmese empire) is other- 
wise homogeneous in its ethnography. There are men 
of many races, speaking many languages, included within 
the red line that now defines British Burma, but they 
are all of one original stock — a stock which, whilst we 
class it under the general designation of Indo-Chinese or 
Mongoloid, offers far more evidence of the Mongolian 
element than the Indian. There is apparently no affinity 
whatever between the short, stout-limbed, indolent, ignorant, 
and gaily dressed (though not over-dressed) Burman, and 
the slight-limbed, long-headed Bengali graduate of the 
Calcutta University. And yet the two countries are not 
(geographically) far separated. Practically, however, they 
are separated by the deep sea, and the width of that sea 
is a matter of great consequence where a sea of any sort 
is a final and fatal obstacle to the personal enterprise 
involved in travel. Burma is shut off from Assam on the 
north-west by a mass of densely forest-covered mountains, 
running in steep and high ridges, intersected by deep and 
narrow valleys, inhabited by the wildest tribes of the 
aboriginal inhabitants of our north-east frontier ; Singphos 
and Nagas on the north, Karens farther to the north-east, 
Lushais and Chins on the north-west ; all of them secure 
in their almost impenetrable jungles, through which no 
right of way from west to east exists, or ever has existed. 

This band of impassable hills is more or less con- 
tinuous down the whole southern watershed of the Assam 
valley ; it envelops the little independent state of Manipur, 
and reaches into the Khasia and Garo plateau north of 
Sylhet and Tipperah to the west. One long arm stretches 
away southwards, and gradually separates the coast district 


of Arakan from the interior of Burma. The extreme north 
of Arakan is lost in the southern abutments of the long 
parallel mountain ridges of Lushai, which run from north 
to south and end on the sea-coast. South of this, about 
the debouchment of the Arakan River, which joins the sea 
near the trading port of Akyab, there is a stretch of coast 
lowland some 40 miles or so in width. Then this 
southern arm of the mountains becomes definitely de- 
tached as a single range, and strikes southwards, approach- 
ing nearer and nearer to the coast, narrowing the width 
of the Arakan lowlands until it ends as a barren red 
rocky ridge at Cape Negrais. This is usually known as 
the Arakan range. The chief pass across it is the Aeng, 
of which the summit is about 5000 feet above sea. The 
western spurs of the mountains are covered with forests 
of fine timber, but on the east, where the range breaks 
down to the level of the Irawadi Valley in a succession 
of minor parallel ridges, bamboo is the principal growth. 

East of the Arakan range are the great central plains 
of lower Burma, watered by the Irawadi and the Sittang. 
East of this again, extending through Burma from north 
to south, we find broken highlands and plateau, traversed 
by no definite mountain ranges, but forming one contin- 
uous chain of rugged tableland, stretching from the 
Kachin Hills on the north, through the northern and 
southern Shan states to the Karenni country on the 
south. This tableland is intersected by the trough of the 
Salwin River. Beyond the Shan states is China in the 
north and Siam in the south. But the province of 
Burma does not end with the Shan states. There is a 
long strip of coast land, averaging perhaps 20 miles in 
width, but occasionally narrowing to 10, which extends 
down the western edge of the Malay peninsula, and 
includes the districts of Martaban and Tenasserim. This 
is also part of the province under the administration of 
the Lieutenant-Governor of Burma. It includes the 
Mergui archipelago, and is chiefly remarkable for the 
long broken coast-line, extending through 16 degrees of 
latitude, flanked by hundreds of islands which once 



formed part of the peninsula. The total length of 
Burmese coast-line from North Arakan to South Tenas- 
serim is not much less than 550 miles. The total area of 
the province is 171,500 square miles, and its population 
(in 1 891) was 7,600,000. 

Burma may be divided into four distinct areas or 

Fig. 56. — Delta of the Irawadi. 

districts, as follows : (1) the western or Arakan division; 
(2) Central Burma, or the basin of the Irawadi ; (3) the 
Shan states, or the basin of the Salwin ; (4) the Eastern 
Coast strip, which includes Martaban and Tenasserim. 

The first and last of these natural subdivisions are 
comparatively unimportant. Arakan was acquired by the 
British, together with Tenasserim, in 1826. The value of 
Arakan was chiefly in its rice cultivation, and the products 
(tobacco, cotton, red pepper, hemp, and sugar) of the 


volcanic island of Ramri, where Port Kyankpyu is one of 
the two notable towns of its coast, Akyab being the other. 
The hot, moist, malarious climate of northern Arakan 
renders it unsuitable for European existence ; but it is 
the happy home of the Mug, an offshoot of the Indo- 
Chinese race, who has specially developed a natural 
instinct for cooking. No large establishment in Calcutta 
is quite complete without a Mug cook. 

Tenasserim is a long strip of country which, together 
with Arakan and Pegu, has been united with the 
Burman province since 1862. A continuous range of 
mountains, varying from 3000 to 6000 feet in altitude, 
separates Tenasserim (with which we include Martaban) 
from Siam. Its exports are inconsiderable, rice and teak 
forming the chief trade. There is, however, much 
mineral wealth in the country, which may be capable 
of further development. Gold, tin, iron ore, antimony, 
and coal are found in Tenasserim, the coal measures 
being worked on the banks of the Tenasserim River, and 
the coal itself being of excellent quality. The only towns 
of any importance are Mulmain, at the mouth of the 
Salwin (which river has no delta); Amherst, about 15 
miles south of Mulmain ; and the port of Mergui near 
the mouth of the Tenasserim River. The climate of 
Tenasserim is singularly equable. The thermometer 
never rises above 90° F., and in June (during the rainy 
season) it varies between 72° and 76°. October is the 
hottest month of the year. 

Central Burma, the land of rivers and rubies, has 
only fallen to British sovereignty since 1885, when 
Mandalay was taken, and the emperor Thibau deposed. 
The province of Pegu in the south has been British since 
1852, and, with Arakan and Tenasserim, formed the 
Burma that we knew and ruled before the days of 
Mandalay occupation. The annexation of the northern 
districts (or Upper Burma) has opened up a new and 
most important area for commercial enterprise, and has 
added a tract of country which differs in some most 
essential climatic conditions from the south, and is 

176 INDIA 

altogether far more suitable to European life. To 
understand the trade relations between Burma and the 
far east, which promises to develop into a question of 
national interest quite as great as that of the Nile Valley, 
certain broad features of the geography of this part 
of Asia should be noted. 

In the high altitudes of Eastern Tibet, bordering on 
Chinese territory (or rather on China, for Tibet is itself a 
dependency of China), there is a central gathering of the 
sources of great rivers, similar to that which exists near 
the Manasarawar Lake in Western Tibet. From this great 
eastern point of departure two gigantic rivers start for 
China. One, the Hoang Ho, or Yellow River, drains and 
waters all Northern China, and is the great waterway 
from Eastern Tibet to Pekin. The other, the Yang-tse- 
Kiang, is the great commercial highway of all Central 
China, and it is by the Yang-tse-Kiang that half of China 
lives. It is the main trade artery from which subsidiary 
lines take off. Two other great rivers also find their 
beginnings near this centre — the Mekong, the river of 
Siam, which has lately assumed political importance in 
connection with French expansion from Tonkin ; and the 
Salwin, the river of the Shan states of Eastern Burma. 
Neither of these two rivers are navigable for any great 
distance, and they are not in themselves trade routes, but 
they mark important points on the line of east and west 
connection, and their small tributaries are important, as 
indicating possible means of developing a continuous 
route across their main line of drainage. 

For hundreds of miles in their upper courses, where 
they are lost in the mass of hills to the north-west of 
Burma, the Salwin, the Mekong, and the Yang-tse-Kiang 
travel on parallel lines in narrow troughs, separated from 
each other by what are apparently (for we only know this 
country imperfectly) single ranges of precipitous moun- 
tains. Between this triad of rivers and the great bend 
in the Brahmaputra north-east of Assam there is a 
massive (but not a broad) band of rugged, forest-clad 
mountains, and it is amongst the recesses of these moun- 



tains that the Irawadi rises. Nowhere is the progress in 
economic development of Burma since British occu- 
pation so marked as it is in the upper reaches of the 
Irawadi north of Bhamo. Bhamo is our most northerly 
cantonment, and it is 250 miles (as the crow flies) above 

Railways Open _. .. ■ Boundary 

> • For Construction tYatersh ed 

Fig. 57. — Upper Basin of the Irawadi. 

Mandalay, and 20 miles west of the Chinese frontier. 
Above it the river passes through a craggy, forest-covered 
defile in the mountains, which is only navigable for half 
the year, and beyond this, for 150 miles farther, it still 
stretches, sometimes half a mile wide, to the confluence 
of its two northerly affluents, the N'maika and the 

178 INDIA 

N'malika, which join from the north-east and north-west 
respectively. Beyond this confluence is the unmapped 
Kachin country of mountains and forests, about which 
exceedingly little is known. 

Some 50 miles south of the confluence, and about 
140 north of Bhamo, lies Myitkhyna (Mitchina), the river 
terminus of the northern railway extension from Mandalay, 
marking not only the terminus of civilisation, but very 
nearly the terminus of our geographical knowledge as well. 
The immediate banks of the river, for 10 or 12 miles in 
breadth on the east, and stretching across to the Mogaung 
River on the west, are fertile plains ; but beyond the plains 
on the east to the Chinese frontier (which here runs north 
and south at a distance of 40 or 50 miles from the Irawadi) 
are Kachin Hills rising to 6000 or 7000 feet, amongst 
which lie the scenes of much of our hardest frontier 
fighting. But whilst Kachins occupy the hills, the plains 
are left to Shans and Burmans, who now hold what was 
once a prosperous and cultivated country, and what may 
soon be prosperous again. u The Kachin has forsaken his 
predatory ways, and promises to become a profitable 
subject; whilst the Chinese Shan and emigrant colonists 
from Yunnan are increasing in numbers, and are, as ever, 
the most industrious of people. Rubber, jade, and cotton 
caravans now pass through from China in safety, and no 
blackmail is levied on the Sadon and Sima routes." 
Bhamo has always been a great trading centre, and is 
still largely a Chinese town. It is still of importance 
(though left on one side by the line of railway), as it lies 
on the main road to Talifu via Momein. 

At the point where the Salwin, the Mekong, and the 
Yang-tse-Kiang emerge into the regions of ascertained 
geography, two of them, the Salwin and the Mekong, are 
traversing the western districts of the Chinese province 
of Yunnan, the Yang-tse-Kiang having turned off east- 
wards to form the northern boundary of the province, and 
thus any route which connects either of the large trading 
centres of the Irawadi (Bhamo or Mandalay) with the 
Yang-tse-Kiang must cross the Salwin and the Mekong, 



and must strike the Yang-tse-Kiang somewhere north of 
the province of Yunnan. 

The one great river system of Burma is formed by the 
Irawadi and its two affluents, the Chindwin, from the 
north-west, and the Myinge, from the north-east. All the 
smaller upper tributaries of the Irawadi, other than the 
Chindwin, are lost in the northern mass of mountains, 

Tar ContO-ixhe* - - .. . 

Fig. 58. — Lower Basin of the Irawadi. 

which are ranged in narrow watersheds running north 
and south — the home of the Kachin. The mountainous 
character of the country extends through the Manipur 
state, on the right bank of the Chindwin, to within 
100 miles of its junction with the Irawadi. The country 
to the east, however, becomes comparatively open, and 
there are broad, high-level valleys in that part of Upper 
Burma which lies between the Chindwin and the Irawadi 
to the north-west of Mandalay. The Irawadi itself is 

180 INDIA 

greatly shut in by mountains, which enclose the valley 
throughout its length north of Mandalay, and which closely 
border its left bank south of that capital. All Upper 
Burma may be called mountainous, although the Shan 
states which lie between the Irawadi and the Salwin are 
more regular in their conformation, which approaches 
that of an elevated plateau or tableland intersected by 
wide, fertile, and populous valleys. 

A little below Mandalay (which is now the recognised 
official capital of Burma and is situated not far north of 
the more ancient capitals, Ava and Sagain) the Irawadi 
is joined by the Myinge from the Shan highlands to the 
north-east. The Myinge has always offered a fairly open 
route to Chinese and Shan traders from the Salwin, and 
it is this valley now which carries the railway (not yet 
completed) from Mandalay to the Kunlon ferry over the 
Salwin ; the point where, for many years, the Eastern 
traders have been wont to meet, and from which they 
diverged westwards into various parts of the Burmese 
empire. From the Kunlon ferry to the Mekong, and 
from the Mekong to the Yang-tse-Kiang, are the next 
links in this great commercial chain which has yet to be 
bridged over by the steel line — a direct distance of less 
than 300 miles, which will finally connect Central China 
with Central Burma. 

About 35 miles to the south-west below Mandalay the 
Irawadi and the Chindwin unite, and for another 30 the 
river continues its south-westerly course, leaving the 
ruins of another ancient capital (Pagan) on its left bank, 
and then runs south for 70 miles to Prome (passing 
Thyetmyo, 20 miles above Prome), which is the terminus 
of a branch line of railway from Rangoon. So far the 
Irawadi runs amongst hills, but the hills are of decreasing 
altitude, and are frequently separated by wide, well-culti- 
vated plains. They are generally covered with forest- 
trees, amongst which teak is abundant. Petroleum is 
found in great quantities on the eastern banks of the 
river in this part of its course, and vast numbers of fossil 
bones are dug out of the hills near the petroleum wells, 


proving its recent conformation. Not far above Prome, 
which is itself 75 miles above Rangoon, the river emerges 
from the hills which mark the ancient boundary between 
Ava and Pegu (i.e. between Upper and Lower Burma), 
and spreads into the plains which thereafter conduct it 
by many channels to the sea. It is somewhat remarkable 
that Prome was never an ancient capital. Burma is a 
land of ancient capitals, and the site of one exists very 
near Prome, about 6 miles to the east of it, but Prome 
itself escaped the honour. The width of the river here 
varies considerably ; at some points it is 3 or 4 miles 
across ; at others it narrows to 600 or 800 yards. There 
are shoals and cataracts in the narrow places which inter- 
rupt navigation when the river is low ; but the whole 
distance (500 miles) between Rangoon and Mandalay is 
ordinarily navigable without any great difficulty by 
steamers of light draught. 

For the last 60 or 70 miles of its course the Irawadi 
splits into many channels, and reaches the sea by four- 
teen different mouths. About 60 miles from the sea the 
Bassein Channel takes off to the west. It joins an excel- 
lent harbour, protected by Cape Negrais, and is navigable 
for ships as far as Bassein, which is some 15 miles above 
the harbour ; beyond that only country barges can navi- 
gate. The Rangoon, or eastern channel, offers advantages 
for navigation which have led to the concentration of 
nearly all the commerce of Burma at the Rangoon port. 
The tide ascends these channels for 50 miles in the dry 
season, and as far as its influence extends, the delta is 
covered with forest and grass plains. Above the reach of 
the tide tall reedy grass takes the place of the forest 
growth, without much underwood. Rice cultivation com- 
mences above the delta and beyond the grass jungles. 

East of the Irawadi basin is that of the Salwin, and 
between the two is the comparatively small but fertile 
Sitang Valley, at the mouth of which the old Burman 
capital of Pegu is situated. The Sitang basin is flat, with 
all the Irawadi Valley characteristics. It is important, as 
it offers the best line of railway approach to the interior ; 

182 INDIA 

it is along the Sitang Valley that the Pegu-Mandalay line 
is laid. But the river itself is of little importance. It is 
blocked by sandbanks at its mouth, and is hardly navi- 
gable. The same may be said of the Salwin, which has 

Fig. 59. — -Between Burma and China. 

no delta, and is only navigable in the near neighbourhood 
of its mouth, where the island of Bhilu divides it into two 
branches, on the eastern of which is Maulmain. The 
Salwin rises, as already explained, far to the north of the 
sources of the Irawadi, and passes through the western 
districts of the Chinese province of Yunnan. South of 
Yunnan it waters the Shan states, which extend on both 


sides of the river, and, for a part of its lower course, it 
serves as the boundary between Lower Burma and Siam. 
It is a broad rushing river, carrying more water than the 
Irawadi at certain seasons, but it possesses a rocky bed 
and many abrupt sinuosities. 

The Shan states have been graphically described in 
recent years by many travellers. The states under British 
protection form the easternmost portion of our Burmese 
possessions, presenting a broad base towards the Irawadi, 
and narrowing considerably towards the east. To the 
north and east of them is the Chinese province of Yunnan, 
with Chinese Shan districts immediately on their borders. 
To the south are the Karen Hills and Siam. 

11 These states," says General Woodthorpe, u present a 
remarkable variety of natural features. The country to 
the west of the Salwin is a series of elevated plateaux — 
great rolling grassy downs separated by deep valleys and 
intersected by lofty parallel ranges, the general direction 
of which is north and south. These ranges, in contrast 
to the yellow downs, are beautifully wooded, and attain 
to great heights, some of the peaks rising to nearly 9000 
feet above sea-level, the general elevation of the plateau 
being from 3000 to 5000 feet. Along the valleys flow 
swift rivers, now through dark and narrow gorges, pent 
between mighty cliffs, now through alluvial hollows, with 
terraced rice fields, among which they wind with many a 
curve. To the east of the Salwin the country is much 
broken up ; no clearly defined range of mountains pre- 
sents itself, but the eye wanders over a confused sea of 
forest-clad hills and narrow valleys, relieved here and 
there by small oases, till Keng Tung plain is reached, 
beyond which the mountains rise again, range upon 
range, in tangled masses to the Mekong. Across the 
Mekong we have similar features, flat fertile valleys, or 
terraced uplands, lying amid intricate mazes of hills, the 
drainage system of which is the despair of the surveyor." 
In the northern Shan states the main drainage is into the 
Irawadi, but in the south several fair-sized streams join 
the Salwin. 

184 INDIA 

Chief amongst these is the Balu Chaung, the river of 
Fort Stedman. " It rises to the north of this place, and 
flowing at first through forest loses itself in a huge swamp 
merging into the Jull Lake, a vast expanse of water, 13 
miles long and about 4 miles wide, at its upper end, but 
narrowing towards the south. It is nowhere very deep, 
and the bottom is overgrown with long and tangled weeds 
which rise nearly to the surface. The lake dwellings of the 
Inthas — an amphibious tribe said to have been originally 
brought as slaves from the province of Tavoy — rise on 
poles out of the water in groups near the edge, and float- 
ing gardens on which are grown tomatoes, water-melons, 
gourds, and the panleaf vine, dot the surface of the lake 
around them. Many large villages are seen on either 
shore ; monasteries, and clusters of white pagodas, built 
on the extremities of the spurs running into the lake, are 
reflected in its placid depths ; and on the eastern shore, 
lying back from the water on some rising ground, are the 
houses and barracks of Fort Stedman." All writers agree 
that the climate of the Shan states is for a great part of 
the year delightful, and enough has been said to show 
that we possess here large possibilities for the development 
of European colonisation. The Kunlon ferry on the Salwin, 
which has risen into prominence as the present objective 
of the railway line from Mandalay by the Myinge valley 
route towards China, is on the western edge of Yunnan, 
and leads direct from Chinese to British territory, the 
Salwin being here the boundary. It is situated about 
100 miles south-east of Bhamo (the valley of the Shweli 
and two ranges intervening), and 200 miles north-east of 
Mandalay by railway. 

" The Burmese," says General MacMahon, " are pro- 
bably the gayest and most light-hearted people in the 
world. Blessed with a happy temperament, a contented 
disposition and jocund spirits, which make light of the 
inevitable ills to which mankind is liable, they defy dull 
care," and live an easy life, but " they are proud, arrogant, 
and conceited," having been born and bred in the belief 
that they are the lineal descendants of celestial Brahmas 


who visited this earth and stayed there. According to 
Sir Arthur Phayre, " The Burmese many years ago were 
formed into a nation by the union of Mongoloid tribes 
who then occupied the land which is still the home of 
their race." Most authorities agree that the Burmese are 
closely allied to the Singphos on the north, and the Mani- 
puris and kindred tribes on the west, and it seems probable 
(although there is a difference of opinion on this point) 
that they found their way originally from beyond the 
snowy ranges, through Assam, into the basin of the Irawadi. 
The true aborigines are to be found, as might be expected, 
in the southern districts of Pegu, and are known as Mons 
or Talaings (an equivalent for Telinga), which latter name 
the Burmans once applied to all strangers who reached 
their shores by way of the sea. Whatever their prehistoric 
origin may be the Burman Mongoloid has been very 
largely modified by the influence of the Aryan Hindu — 
who figures in Burmese traditions and in Buddhist legends 
as the founder of the Saverna Bhumi, or Golden Land in 
which the city of Thahtun was famous. The Golden 
Land is nearly identical with the province of Pegu, and 
Thahtun was visited by ships from Ceylon and India as 
late as the sixth century. So rapidly has the land gained 
on the sea in this part of Burma that the ruins of Thahtun 
are now twelve miles inland. 

Aryan influence may be traced in the religion, lan- 
guage, and literature of the country, but the first prin- 
ciples of commerce were taught by the Dravidian races 
(Telingas), who traded from the Coromandel coast, and 
formed settlements amongst them. Thus Aryans and 
Dravidians have combined to mould the Burman into his 
present shape. 

The Shans, the inhabitants of the great stretch of high- 
lands which encompass the Salwin, are u the most widely 
diffused and probably the most numerous of the peoples of 
Indo-China." According to ]. G. Scott, "They overlap all 
Burma, and extend so far into Yunnan that it is a question 
whether there are not more Shans than Chinamen in that 
province of the Middle Kingdom." . . , " As far as history 

186 INDIA 

goes back the Shans and Burmese have been connected 
either as rulers, subjects, or allies." They are everywhere 
Buddhist, and everywhere, to a considerable extent, civilised. 
" Mixed up with the Shans we find a wonderful variety of 
more or less wild tribes. These various tribes inhabit the 
hills and the wilder parts of the country, the Shans occupy- 
ing the alluvial basins." Rice is grown everywhere, but 
our future interest in the Shans lies more with their 
capacity as traders than as agriculturists. 

It is impossible to trace out the habitat of those wild 
Mongoloid tribes who live interspersed amongst the Shans, 
or on the borders of their territory. Chief amongst them 
are the Kachins on the north, the Karens on the south 
(about whom much has been written lately), and the 
Kakhyens (an uncivilised race of fetish worshippers), who 
occupy hill districts amongst the Shans. The latter are a 
" pushing race " — " so much so " (according to Captain 
Yate) that " not improbably the time will come when 
the Shan will be effaced before the Kakhyen." 

The Karens (who are divided into Red and White 
Karens) are interesting as a fighting race of people who were 
subdued with difficulty, but who not only accepted British 
authority, but the Christian faith, when once they acknow- 
ledged the strength of our arms. The tradition amongst 
them that they were to u look to the west for their de- 
liverers in the shape of white strangers, who would bring 
them a book, once theirs, which would make them ac- 
quainted with the true God, and free them from their 
oppressors," has led to the acceptance of English rule and 
the Holy Bible as a literal fulfilment of this prediction ; 
and induced them " not only to receive the Word with 
joy, but also to become a law-abiding people." "They 
are absolutely distinct from the Shans," says Scott, " not 
less in language than in personal appearance," and their 
exact place in the family of nations has not yet been de- 
termined. They are as distinct from Burmese as they are 
from Shans. 

In store of national wealth few countries in the world 
surpass Burma. Every description of timber known in 


India is produced in the forests of Burma, together with 
sticklac and rubber. Cotton, sesamum, and tobacco are 
extensively grown in the lower provinces, though rice 
covers about five-sixths of the cultivated area. In Upper 
Burma rice, maize, millet, wheat, pulse, tobacco, cotton, 
and sesamum are chiefly grown. Burma is rich in mine- 
rals. Gold and silver are found in small quantities, 
marble (near Mandalay), coal, and petroleum, jade and 
amber are all produced in fair amount ; the mines of 
Mogok (forty miles north-east of Mandalay) supply the 
world with rubies ; sapphires are also found there, and in 
the Shan states. The silks of Mandalay ; the lacquer 
work of Pagan ; the gold and silver work of Rangoon, 
Maulmain, and most of the large towns of Burma ; Bur- 
mese wood and ivory carving (especially that of Mulmain) 
are celebrated all the world over. "The characteristics 
of Burmese art are vigour and novelty in design, but want 
of delicacy and finish in execution. 

Burma is essentially the land of temples, pagodas, and 
of wooden architecture — and it is the latter, doubtless, 
which has led to the development of the vigorous forms 
of wood carving that are to be found in that country. 
The early capitals of Burma (Tagoun, between Bhamo 
and Mandalay, earliest of all ; Pagan, coincident with 
Pollonarua, the ancient capital of Ceylon ; and Thathun) 
are all full of the interest of early forms of architectural 
design, obviously drawn from Babylonian sources. The 
connecting links in India seem to have disappeared (pos- 
sibly owing to the free use of wood in construction), so 
that Burma now stands alone as the modern exponent of 
fairly complete forms of architecture of which the proto- 
types are to be seen in ruins on the plains of Chaldaea. 

Of one of the pagodas at Mengun, half-way between 
Mandalay and the old capital of Amirapura, Fergusson 
writes: " Had it been carried out it would have been the 
tallest building in the world. It was, however, shattered 
by an earthquake in 1839 ; but even in its ruined state it 
is as large and imposing a mass of brickwork as is to be 
found anywhere. Since the pyramids of Egypt nothing 

188 INDIA 

so great has been attempted ; and it belongs to the nine- 
teenth century ! " King Mentara Gye, who commenced 
it, died in 1819. The architectural interests of Burma 
require a volume to themselves. 

Our national interest in Burma, however, lies chiefly 
in the possibility of future commercial developments, and 
for that we must look chiefly to the newly acquired Shan 
states and their geographical position relative to the great 
productive centres of the vast empire of China. It is 
indeed in this direction that England has more to hope 
for, more indeed to expect, than she has in any other 
part of the world. The wealth of the highly developed 
provinces of Western China bears about the same propor- 
tion to the prospective value of the yet undeveloped 
Sudan, for instance, as does the wealth of the city of 
London to that of any ordinary market town in England. 
The Shan states themselves are not as yet fully developed, 
but it is the opinion of competent authorities that the 
temperate climate, ample rainfall, and excellent soil which 
they possess, renders them fit for the production of almost 
any form of vegetable product — nor are they destitute of 
mineral wealth. That unrivalled authority on the subject, 
Mr. J. G. Scott, writes as follows of the country bordering 
the line which is now happily in course of construction 
between Mandalay and Western China : " Such a line 
would traverse a country which produces everything, from 
indigo to tea and opium, from potatoes and cabbages to 
forests of teak, and is moreover rich in ores of all kinds, 
so rich that an Indian mineralogist grows eloquent over a 
spot so singularly wealthy in metal that he calls it a solid 
mountain of iron, and records the absolute paralysis of his 
compass. Lead and silver have long been found in 
abundance, and the paltry holes dug by our new Shan 
subjects yield an amount which promises to skilled labour 
a return that will probably eclipse in interest the much 
vaunted ruby mines. Hot springs and mineral waters 
await the arrival of the speculator in table drinks, and the 
mines of sulphur may probably be as valuable as the 
seams of coal which have yet to be scientifically examined." 


The Kunlon ferry, to which the railway is already pro- 
jected, is at the foot of that " great descent" of which 
Marco Polo speaks as so easy : " If therefore the Chinese 
choose to connect, the proverbially wealthy province of 
Ssuch'uen might be reached from Rangoon well within 
the week by a goods train." The caravans from China 
" assemble at Keing Tung. A committee is appointed, and 
on a fixed day determines by what routes and at what 
intervals the various caravans are to make their way west 
to Mandalay or south-west to Maulmain. In this way the 
iron pots and pans, the grass woven and felt hats, the 
shoes, silk, gold leaf, orpiment, walnuts, and what not, 
brought by the traders are judiciously distributed, so that 
in no place there may be a glut and the merchants every- 
where may make an equal profit." Manchester, Birming- 
ham, and Sheffield goods are what the return caravans 
carry back with them to the Shan states. Mr. Scott 
foresees the day when the " miserable wattled bamboo 
clachan" (Kunlon) "will assume the proportions of a town; 
Manchester looms will grow busy and the hardware town 
will forget what it is to have a strike." u With the railway 
to stimulate the natural resources of the hill states, the 
wealth of our tributary Shan princes would soon outrival 
that of the most potent of the Indian Maharajas." 

Murray's excellent guide-book introduces Ceylon to 
the reader with certain advice about the climate : " March 
and April are the hottest months in the year ; June and 
August the wettest (on the west coast), and December and 
January the most disagreeable (on that coast) on account 
of the long shore wind." It is certain, however, that 
during the months of October and November also, there 
is present in the atmosphere an amount of moisture which 
is unequalled by anything of the sort known in India, and 
possibly only surpassed by that which is experienced 
during June and August. But the conformation of hill 
and plain in Ceylon divides that island into climatic 
spheres which are best recognised by a consideration of 
the action of the south-west and north-east monsoons 



respectively. Whilst the south-west monsoon is filling the 
western area with vapour, and clouds are hanging on the 
western slopes of the hills which culminate about the 
central portions of the southern half of the island, the 
eastern slopes and plains may be free from anything 

Fig. 60. 

approaching to excessive rain ; and the climate may be 
not only tolerable, but on the higher levels actually 
bracing. When the monsoon turns about, and in obed- 
ience to laws explained elsewhere in reference to India, 
brings with it sheets of rain from the Bay of Bengal, then 
it is that the western districts have a chance of respite 
from the prolonged vapour-bath atmosphere in which 
they have been enveloped. But the operation of the 


north-east monsoon is much modified by local atmospheric 
conditions, and thus it frequently happens that Colombo 
and west-coast stations are rained upon for many months 
in the year, lasting through the autumn to the middle of 
December. A study of the rain chart of Ceylon should 
be a preliminary to any attempt at permanent settlement 
in the country. 

The island contains a total area of 25,300 square 
miles, and about 3,500,000 inhabitants. Of these latter 
2,200,000 are Singhalese, 1,000,000 are Tamils, and about 
6500 are pure-bred Europeans. Portuguese colonisation 
commenced on the island in 1505, with a factory built at 
Colombo. A century later the Dutch landed on the east 
coast, and in fifty years had dispossessed the Portuguese. 
About two centuries later again (1796) the Dutch were 
expelled by the English, and the maritime provinces of 
Ceylon were attached to the Madras Presidency for a year 
or two, after which Ceylon became a Crown colony. 
Ceylon now possesses a government of its own, including 
a governor, a commander-in-chief, and an executive 
council of five members, with an elaborate system of 
administration. It is about one-fifth the size of an 
average province of British India, being equal in land 
area to about six official districts. For purposes of 
administration the island is divided into five " provinces " 
presided over by Government agents. 

The attractions of Ceylon to the traveller lie chiefly in 
its unrivalled scenery. " It is impossible to exaggerate the 
beauty of Ceylon," says Sir Edwin Arnold. " Belted with 
a double girdle of golden sands and waving palm groves, 
the interior is one vast green garden of nature, deliciously 
disposed into plain and highland, valley and peak, where 
almost everything grows known to the tropical world, 
under a sky glowing with an equatorial sun, yet tem- 
pered by the cool sea winds. Colombo itself, outside the 
actual town, is a perfect labyrinth of shady bowers and 
flowing streams and lakes. For miles and miles you drive 
about under arbors of feathery bamboos, broad-leaved 
breadfruit-trees, talipot and areca palms, cocoa-nut groves, 

192 INDIA 

and stretches of rice fields, cinnamon and sugar-cane, 
amid which at night the fireflies dart about in glittering 
clusters. The lowest hut is embosomed in palm fronds 
and the bright crimson blossoms of the hybiscus, while 
wherever intelligent cultivation aids the prolific force of 
nature, there is enough in the profusion of nutmegs and 
allspice, of the india-rubber and cinchonas, of cannas, 
dracaenas, crotons, and other wonders of the Singhalese 
flora, to give an endless and delighted study to the lover 
of Nature." But this by no means exhausts the beauties 
of Ceylon. One need only travel by the train from 
Colombo to the station of Kandy, embosomed in moun- 
tains and overlooking the broad surface of a lake which 
reflects the varied beauty of the forest-covered hillsides, 
and thence pass on through the terraced spurs to higher 
levels, where acres upon acres of tea cultivation now 
spreads over the same soil which was not long ago 
devoted to cinchona and coffee, to realise that there is 
hardly any sort of scenery from that of the temperate 
zone to the tropics which is not to be found almost at its 
best in Ceylon. 

On the north-west Ceylon is nearly joined to India by 
the island of Manaar, Adam's Bridge, and the island of 
Rameseram. There are two passages through the strait — 
the Manaar between Ceylon and the island of the same 
name, which was formerly not more than 4 feet deep at 
high water ; and the Pambam passage which separates 
Rameseram from India. This used to be only 6 feet deep 
at high water. Both passages have been widened and 

The eastern shores of Ceylon are rocky, and the water 
deep ; the north-western and western shores north of 
Colombo are uniformly low and indented with bays and 
inlets. The general flatness of the coast districts has led 
to the formation of salt-water lakes or lagunes which have 
been connected by canals (said to have been constructed 
300 years B.C.), which much facilitate traffic and com- 
munication between these maritime provinces. 

The harbour of Trincomali on the north-east coast is 


celebrated for its great natural strength and capacity, as 
well as for the beauty of its surroundings. It is said that 
all the navies in the world might find shelter in the harbour 
of Trincomali. 

Galle harbour, on the south coast, is also well known 
to travellers as a port of call for ships bound to India. It 
has lately been superseded by Colombo, but is now under 
a process of improvement that may once again bring into 
prominence the quaint old Dutch town which dominates 
it. Colombo harbour is 
also undergoing extensive 
alterations, which will add 
greatly to its advantages. 
A heavy surf beats un- 
ceasingly on the coast at 
Colombo, and, under the 
influence of strong south- 
westerly gales, the ap- 
proach to the harbour in 
its recent form was often 
dangerous. 1 

The northern half of 
the island is flat and forest- 
covered. The southern is 
about equally divided be- 
tween hills and plains, the 

hills Occupying all the F IG. 61.— Colombo Harbour. 

centre of the island, and 

influencing the climate (as already explained) in a re- 
markable degree. It is about the hills and the southern 
and western plains that most of the planting which 
constitutes the wealth of the island exists. These 
hills culminate in the peak of Pedrotalagalla (8300 feet 
above the sea) close to the pretty hill station of Nuwara 
Elia (generally pronounced Nuralia), which occupies the 
highest plateau amongst them ; Adam's Peak, which is 
much better known, and was for many years supposed to 
be the highest peak in the island, being only 7400 feet. 

1 New harbour works have already been constructed. 


i 9 4 INDIA 

From the central mass of hills numerous offshoots are 
detached towards the coast from south-east to south-west. 
Nuwara Elia is above the 6000 feet level, and is the 
counterpart in Ceylon of Ootacamund in the Nilgiris. 
The surrounding of blue mountains, of stretches of green 
upland, the patches of uncleared forest filled with quaint 
and fantastic trees (amongst which the " Keena," a curious 
imitation of the stone pine, is prominent), the Australian 
importations (gum trees and wattle), the cloudy, humid 
atmosphere — even the flowers, arum lilies, heliotrope, and 
geraniums, which seem specially suited to the climate of 
Nuwara Elia, recall vivid impressions of " Ooty." Round 
about Nuwara Elia, are tea plantations which are carried 
over the hill slopes to a height of nearly 7000 feet. A 
recent and most admirable law has been passed by the 
Ceylon Government that the higher slopes of the moun- 
tains are in future to be reserved for forest growth, the 
absence of which after extensive clearings had been 
effected having a most appreciable effect on the rainfall. 
In amongst the lines of tea plants cinchona is still grown. 
It serves as a much-needed shade tree to the tea, but the 
over-production of cinchona in the island has led to this 
industry being partially abandoned. Tea has almost 
entirely superseded coffee since the year 1870, when the 
coffee plantations were destroyed and many wealthy 
landowners ruined by the appearance of a new fungus 
(Hcemilia vastatrix), which choked the pores of the leaves 
and destroyed the plant. 

On the lower slopes of the hill districts cocoa planta- 
tions are now increasing. Nothing can exceed the beauty 
of some of these plantations set amidst the most lovely 
scenery in the island, and interspersed with a magnificent 
growth of shade trees — much needed for the cocoa plant. 
Cinnamon and cocoa-nut palms are indigenous, and the 
latter form the chief wealth of the Singhalese, who utilise 
every part of the tree for domestic purposes. But every 
species of spice is cultivated, as well as rice, sugar, 
tobacco, indigo, and a certain amount of cotton. A vast 
variety of timber is found in the forests, and is largely 



exported. Probably no country in the world of equal 
area possesses such natural wealth as Ceylon. Useful 
minerals and valuable gems are not wanting. Iron, tin, 
plumbago, copper, quicksilver, and coal are all in the 
island ; and there is a cave from which the best Epsom 
salts are produced. The precious stones chiefly in 
repute are the ruby, cat's-eye, sapphire, amethyst, topaz, 
garnet, and beryl ; but casual purchasers should beware 
of imitations, in which a large trade was for many years 
successfully carried on. Latterly, however, this trade 
has not proved so profitable, and it is attended with a 
certain amount of risk. 

The two most interesting features of Ceylon to the visitor 
are its wealth of modern plantations in the south, and of 
ancient Buddhist ruins 
in the north. Amidst 
the natural beauty which 
he will find distinguish- 
ing the former, with 
all the enchantment of 
mountain and river 
scenery (for the rivers 
of Ceylon are very 
beautiful, even if they 
are economically un- 
important), and all the 
comforts of home sur- 
roundings in thisgarden 
of the eastern world, he 
may well forget that the 
attractions of Ceylon once lay farther north, where there 
are relics of an historic past which surpass in interest any- 
thing of their kind to be found in India. 

Ceylon is the land of Buddhists — even more so 
than Burma. The yellow-robed priest is always en 
evidence, and the bells of temples, and the chant of 
the scholar, learning his monotonous incantations and 
prayers as he sits under a hedge of sunflowers or the 
shade of the temple portico, is always in the air. Kandy 

Fig. 62. 




is perhaps the centre of living, as Anuradapura is the 
centre of dead, Buddhism in Ceylon. The Malagawa 
temple at Kandy contains the Dalada, or sacred tooth, 
which was brought to Ceylon in the year A.D. 311, 
concealed in the hair of the Princess Sanghamitta. After 
many vicissitudes it was (according to veritable history) 

taken to Goa in 1560, 
and there burnt in pre- 
sence of the Portuguese 
Viceroy and all his court. 
But another tooth, 2 
inches long and less than 
1 inch in diameter, now 
enjoys all the reputation 
of the original relic. To 
this has lately been added 
certain veritable relics of 
the founder of Buddhism 
discovered on the bor- 
ders of Nipal, and the 
temple still remains the 
most important seat of 
the Buddhist hierarchy. 
From the northern 
terminus of the Ceylon 
railway at Matale, north 
of Kandy, the great 
highroad to Trincomali 
stretches away over the 
falling plateau, and 
through flat forest- 
covered plains till it 
reaches Dambulla. Here it branches, and leaving the 
ancient stronghold of Siguri, and the yet more ancient 
capital Pollonarua, away to the right, it runs north-east to 
Trincomali. A north-western branch takes the traveller 
to Mahintale and Anuradapura. A short description would 
absolutely fail to give any impression of the magnitude and 

1 A railway is now under construction to the extreme north of the island. 




Fig. 63. — Buddhist Centres and Modern 
Railways. 1 


the magnificence of the ancient Buddhist remains that are 
to be found in these old-world sites, even if it afforded a 
faint conception of the beauty of the highways that lead 
to them. The granite enclosed temple at Matale and the 
cave at Dambulla are both typical, and attest strongly to 
the vitality of the still living faith, whilst the marvellous 
extent of the ruins, which occupy many square miles of 
country at Anuradapura and Mahintale, now covered 
with the forest growth of years and buried beneath the 
accumulations of centuries, attest yet more strongly to 
the enormous wealth and influence of that faith in the 
past days of its highest development. At Anuradapura 
is the sacred Bo tree under which Gautama attained his 
Buddhahood, the dagoba of Thuparama, oldest and most 
venerated of any in Ceylon (although the pious devotion 
which led a wealthy disciple of the faith to smarten it up 
with a coating of u chunam " deserves scant acknowledg- 
ment from the archaeologist) ; and here are sixteen square 
miles of ruins — grass-grown jungles in which the con- 
templative stone figures of Buddha stare solemnly through 
the ages ; forests of lats and pillars surrounding the ruins 
of tanks ; foundations of monasteries, temples, walls, 
and edifices, which must once have been the glory of 
the Buddhist world. 

Hardly less astonishing are the great tanks which 
retained the headwaters of an elaborate system of 
irrigation which has yet to be traced out to its full extent. 

The great northern road leading to Anuradapura and 
Trincomali runs through the heart of the country. It 
is usually enclosed with forest on either hand, but 
occasionally strikes through long open stretches of grass 
land, sprinkled with clumps of trees of magnificent 
growth, reminding one of English scenery. In the 
winter months, when the rains are still in force, the 
vivid luxuriance of the landscape is very striking, and 
all Nature seems alive with animated beauty. Butterflies 
in countless thousands swarm in the woods till they 
appear like beds of flowers, and they rise in clouds as 
the traveller passes by them. 



The chief river in Ceylon, the Mahavelli Ganga, 
drains northward from the mountains to Trincomali 
harbour. Its source is near Adam's Peak, and in its 
course of 200 miles it waters what was once the granary 
of Ceylon, but is now frequently pestiferous marsh 
country. About 80 miles of it might be made navigable 
if Trincomali were a commercial rather than a naval port. 
The inhabitants of Ceylon are Singhalese in the 
southern districts, Tamils in the northern, Vedda abori- 
gines in the wildest and most inaccessible parts of the 

forest country, Mu- 
hammadans, and Euro- 
peans. The Singhalese 
are probably of mixed 
. Hindu extraction, and 

EUROPEAN 93 . . 

veddas 11 J date their origin from 
the Hindu invasions of 
Ceylon about 500 B.C. 
The Tamils are the re- 
presentatives of those 
periodic invasions from 
Malabar which are re- 
counted in the history called " Mahawanso." The 
Veddas are rapidly disappearing. The European com- 
munity is chiefly represented by a widespread class of 
settlers of Dutch extraction, who are locally known as 
Burghers. They fill all the clerkships and lower civil 
offices of Government, and answer much to the Eurasian 
element in Indian society. There is also a sprinkling of 
Malays and Chinese in the island ; but it is to the 
developing character of Singhalese, who are now rapidly 
being brought under the influences of European systems 
of education, rather than to the effete and degenerate 
form of European existence as exemplified in the descend- 
ants of a once robust Dutch ancestry, that we must look 
for the regeneration of the social status of Ceylon. 
English planters are not, as a rule, settlers in the 
country, and Government officials never outstay their 
period of active service. The Singhalese combine 

Fig. 64. 


many qualities which entitle them to hold a higher 
place in this agglomeration of nationalities than they 
have ever yet taken. They are intelligent, industrious, 
and frugal. 

The trade statistics of 1898 show the total value of 
exports from Ceylon at Rs. 95,000,000, and imports 
Rs. 97,900,000 approximately, the value of the exports 
to India being Rs. 7,300,000, and of the imports from 
India Rs. 61,400,000. 

The physical characteristics of Assam and Ceylon have been generally 
described from personal observations in those regions, with such assistance 
as may be derived from Survey Reports (Indian and Ceylon) and Census 
Returns ; but for Burma I have been dependent on the writings of such 
experts as Scott, Woodthorpe, Yate, and M'Mahon, and on the recently 
issued Indian Survey sheets of Burma, which illustrate a vast extent of 
country about which very little has been written. 



" One of the greatest difficulties that exist," says 
Fergusson, " perhaps the greatest, in exciting an interest 
in Indian antiquities, arises from the fact that India has 
no history, properly so called, before the Muhammadan 
invasion of the thirteenth century. Had India been a great 
united kingdom, like China, with a long line of dynasties 
and well-recorded dates attached to them, the task would 
have been comparatively easy ; but nothing of the sort 
exists, or ever existed, within her boundaries. On the 
contrary, so far as our knowledge extends, India has 
always been occupied by three or four different races of 
mankind, who have never amalgamated so as to become 
one people, and each of these races has been again sub- 
divided into numerous tribes or small nationalities nearly, 
sometimes wholly, independent of each other ; and, what 
is worse than all, not one of them ever kept a chronicle 
or preserved a series of dates commencing from any well- 
known era." Thus the history of Indian nationalities has 
had to be built up from such records as may be found 
in Indian architecture, in coins, inscriptions, and other 
forgotten relics, and the building is necessarily imperfect 
in construction and wanting in continuity. But although 
there is no ancient history there is abundant literature — 
"a literature extending, in fact, to some 10,000 or 11,000 
works — and buried amidst innumerable and unreadable 
treatises on law, astronomy, grammar, metaphysics, and 
mathematics are two great epics, which, if rightly under- 
stood, appear to throw a certain amount of light on the 
developments of Indian ethnography." 

All that can be deduced with certainty from such 
unpromising material is that at some very remote pre- 



historic period a Sanscrit-speaking people, whom we call 
Aryans, came from Central Asia and settled themselves 
in the Indus Valley and the Punjab. About 2000 years 
B.C. they were well established in Ayodhya, and it is there 
that our best authorities 
consider that one of the 
great epics — the Ramayana 
— was written. The Rama- 
yana appears to be an alle- 
gory recording in mystical 
language the conquest of 
Ceylon by this Aryan 
people. It was at this 
period that Brahmanism 
spread over the whole of 
Southern India. At a 

Fig. 65. 

much later date (possibly about 1200 years B.C.) a second 
race of Central Asian extraction appear on the scene — a 
much less pure race than the original settlers, or possibly 
claiming more affinity with Tatar than the Aryan stock. 
They called themselves the Lunar race, in distinction to 

the original Solar race, and 
the Mahabharata (the 
second great epic of India) 
relates in mythical form 
the result of the great 
contest between the two 
races. It was then, pos- 
sibly, that certain sections 
of the original Solar, or 
Rajput, race were driven 
from the plains of India 
into the Himalayas and 
Indus valley hills. About the year 700 B.C. we find the 
Brahmans sharing power with the Kshatryas, or soldiers, 
and other than the priestly caste are asserting their position 
in the land. In the year 623 B.C. Buddha was born of 
the Solar race, and from this point there is a solid sub- 
stratum of history. 

Fig. 66. — Race Distribution, Upper India. 



an epoch 
that it is 
to suggest 
an approximate 
Recent explora- 






The history of the Aryans, however, is not the history 
of India. The Turanian, or Dravidian element of the 
population appears to have been, in historic times, as 
numerous as the pure Aryans, and at present forms about 
one-fifth of the total population of India. They possess a 
lower intellectual status than the Aryans, but they " have 
preserved their nationality pure and unmixed, and, such 
as they were at the dawn of history, so they seem to be 
now." The advent of the Turanian element into India 

belongs to 
so remote 

tions in Makran and 
on the Persian coast 
seem certainly to con- 
firm the view that the 
Dravidians passed into 
India across the lower 
Indus from the direc- 
tion of Mesopotamia. 
The Brahui of Balu- 
the modern representative of that 
widely extended Dravidian people who occupied Makran 
when Alexander forced his way through the deserts and 
passes of Southern Baluchistan to Persia. But the great 
mass of Dravidian people have ever been dwellers in the 
southern parts of the peninsula, and are now to be found 
in the lower districts of the Central Provinces and in 
Madras. Chief amongst Dravidian tribes are the Gonds 
and the tribes of the Nilgiris. 

Separate again from both Aryan and Dravidian stock 
are the aboriginal people, the ancient Kolarian tribes who 
once spread throughout India, and are now to be found 
under the name of Bhils, Kols, Santals, &c, in the wildest 
fastnesses of Central Indian jungles. Their affinities 
appear to be with trans-Himalayan population, and they 
either entered India through the passes of North- 

FlG. 67. — Race Distribution, Lower India. 

chistan appears to be 


Eastern Bengal — which is unlikely, if we consider the 
nature of those passes — or they are a fragment of a great 
population that occupied both the northern and the 
southern slopes of that great chain of mountains at some 
very remote prehistoric period. 

The Kolarian group of non-Aryan races now occupies 
the northern districts, and the north-eastern edge of the 
southern tableland of India. 

A third and most important element in non-Aryan 
ethnography is that of the Tibeto-Burman group of tribes 
which clings to the skirts of the Himalayas and their 
north-eastern offshoots. Their prehistoric home was with 
Mongolians and Chinese. This group includes an im- 
mense number of tribes, the limits of whose habitat is at 
present but indefinitely known, although it is confined to 
the mountain districts of the north-east of Bengal and to 

These are the people, at any rate, who finally accepted 
Buddhism, which was never an Aryan or Dravidian form 
of faith. In Bengal, Ceylon, Tibet, Burma, Siam, and 
China, wherever a Tibetan people exists, or a people allied 
to them, there Buddhism flourished and still prevails. 

For the ordinary student of Indian geography and of 
the distribution of the castes, tribes, and peoples through 
the country these three great divisions, Aryan, Dravidian, 
and Aboriginal, may be sufficient to summarise the primary 
or original status of the whole population ; but the infinite 
variety and enormous number of even important sub- 
divisions which take their place in modern history, waxing 
great as nations, and disappearing as scattered tribes, 
render it absolutely impossible to do more than select a 
few of the prominent representatives of each great divi- 
sion, and indicate their chief characteristics and geo- 
graphical distribution. 

Amongst the so-called Aryan races of Northern India 
the Rajputs are distinctly the oldest and the noblest. 
They belong to one of the greatest races of history, and 
their past extends through thousands of years in an 
unbroken record of valour and nobility. Unfortunately 

20 4 INDIA 

exact ethnology is a comparatively young science in India, 
and the absence of authentic history is productive of a 
host of ethnographical myths and misconceptions which 
can only be gradually cleared away. We do not even 
know precisely what is meant by the term " Aryan/' or 
whether it is a true race term at all. The two great pre- 
historic races of Central Asia who have most influenced 
the destinies of Europe and of India are certainly Aryans 
and Skyths, but we are not yet able to say whether there 
was — or was not — any connection between them, whether 
either included the other either as a whole or in part. 
We are, however, safe in assigning to the Rajputs the 
chief place amongst the earliest of those Aryan im- 
migrants of which we have already spoken. They were 
the Kshatryas, the warriors of Indian epic, distinct from 
the Brahmans, who form the priestly caste. But there was 
a time when the Rajput (whose name is an abbreviation 
of the Sanscrit Raja-putra or king's son) held spiritual pre- 
eminence in India, and to this day the Ranas of Mewar 
officiate as high priests in the temple of their guardian 
deity. To this day thousands of Brahmans, bathing in 
the Ganges, repeat a hymn every morning of which the 
author was a Rajanya and not a Brahman. Whether the 
Rajput can be identified with the Solar race and the 
Brahman with the Lunar race of Indian classics remains 
still to be seen ; further ethnographical inquiry may yet 
clear away the allegorical mist of the Mahabharata, and 
throw light on many dark points of India's earliest records. 
The Rajput is tall and well built, with well-developed 
limbs, which are generally described as of a " reddish " 
hue. He is by heredity and national instinct a warrior 
and a huntsman. Intensely proud of his descent, which 
he attributes to supernatural rather than historical origin, 
he is only just beginning to conform to those usages of 
society which govern other less illustrious communities, 
and to fit himself to the views of a government to which 
he is distinctly loyal, but which he doubtless regards as 
dangerously democratic in its tendencies. A Rajput can- 
not marry a woman who does not belong to a Rajput 


family, nor can he marry one of his own class ; so that 
the field of matrimony is most inconveniently narrow. A 
poor man frequently cannot marry at all, and a rich man 
is " besieged with applications for his hand in order that 
the stigma of an unmarried daughter may at least be 
formally removed." Thus large dowries are usually 
necessary to enable a girl to marry, and suitable alliances 
may mean the ruin of a family. In order to avoid such 
catastrophes the crime of female infanticide became a fixed 
custom amongst Rajputs. Sir John Strachey says that 
" these people have gone on killing their children genera- 
tion after generation, because their forefathers did so 
before them, not only without a thought that there was 
anything criminal in the practice, but with a conviction 
that it is right." Happily Government has been able to 
deal with this subject by a system of registration, and 
Rajput girls are to be found now where formerly no girl 
was ever known to exist ; but " there can be no doubt 
that if vigilance were relaxed the custom would before long 
become as prevalent as ever." 

The hereditary and central habitat of the Rajput is in 
Rajputana, one-half of which consists of waste sandy 
spaces, which, if not absolutely desert, are very closely 
allied to it. In the south-eastern half of Rajputana, where 
the desert merges into bands of rugged hills and of open 
cultivable flats ; where sands and occasional oasis gradu- 
ally gives place to plains watered by clear streams and 
rivers ; where the desert well (often hundreds of feet deep), 
from which water is extracted by the bucketful with the 
assistance of a pair of oxen and a long rope, ceases to be 
the most prominent feature in the sandy landscape ; there 
are the great cities of Rajputana. Jaipur, Jodhpur, Ajmir 
(a British possession), Chitor, and Udaipur still attest, with 
their lofty battlemented walls and scarped defences, the 
strength of those ancient strongholds which have witnessed 
centuries of stirring action and many a bold defence ; 
whilst the magnificence of the relics of ancient archi- 
tectural structure and art designs with which they abound 
attest equally to the high development of early Rajput 

2o6 INDIA 

culture. No towns or cities in India so amply repay a 
visit as those of Rajputana. There is nothing in India to 
exceed the beauty of the city of Udaipur, seat of the most 
ancient of Rajput races, with the white brightness of its 
towers and terraces reflected in the waters of its still clear 
lake, and its noble surroundings of hill and plain ; nothing 
in the art of marble carving to beat the records of that 
race of sculptors which decorated Amber, the ancient site 
of Jaipur ; nothing historically so fascinating as the blood- 
stained courtyards and walls and towers of Chitor. No 
district in India can compare with Rajputana in historical 

Rajput races are, however, scattered and mixed with 
other classes of the Indian population all over India. 
Under the name of Dogra they are settled in large numbers 
in the Himalayas. The Himalayan state of Chamba is 
a Rajput state, and the seat of one of the oldest dynasties 
in existence. On the borders of Sind, in the districts of 
Las Bela, we again find Rajput clans, and there can be 
little doubt that many of our frontier tribes-people possess 
Rajput affinities, derived from some prehistoric reflex 
wave which was swept back from the plains of India into 
the bordering hills. 

Distinct from Rajputs, the Brahmans have ever re- 
presented the priestly caste in India, and, like the priestly 
clan all over the world, they have directed the destinies 
of nations, and still exercise the most potent influence of 
any caste in India. 

Into the history of early Brahmanism, when the faith 
was higher, nobler, purer than anything that at present 
exists, ere it was eclipsed for a time by Buddhism, we 
cannot enter. When Buddhism declined, Brahmanism 
again resumed its ascendency, and although it is not 
(or it claims not to be) a proselytising religion, Sir Alfred 
Lyall thinks that it probably claims more converts in these 
days than any other religion in the world. It is difficult 
to understand the ascendency of the priest over the people 
of India without a complete grasp also of their appalling 
ignorance and superstition. 


Modern Hinduism may be described as the most 
contemptible religion in existence. " The term Hindu," 
according to Sir Alfred Lyall, " is not a national, nor even 
a geographical denomination, but signifies vaguely a for- 
tuitous conglomeration of sects, tribes, hereditary pro- 
fessions, and castes." "The Hindu religion is a religious 
chaos. ... I doubt if any one who has not lived 
amongst Hindus can adequately realise the astonishing 
variety of their ordinary religious beliefs, the constant 
changes of shape and colour which their beliefs undergo, 
the extraordinary fecundity of the superstitious sentiment. 
Hinduism is a tangled jungle of disorderly superstitions, 
ghosts and demons, demi-gods, and deified saints, house- 
hold gods, tribal gods, local gods, universal gods, with 
their countless shrines and temples, and the din of their 
discordant rites, deities who abhor a fly's death, and those 
who delight still in human victims." 1 Sir John Strachey 
declares that the " sacred books of Sanscrit literature 
represent in no way the religion of the masses of the 
people." It is true that Vishnu and Shiva claim these 
countless devotees, and that the stories of Krishna and 
Rama are repeated as domestic fables in every household ; 
but the everyday life of the ordinary Indian peasant is 
little affected by the pure tenets of his ancient faith. 
The rural population of India is governed through ignor- 
ance and superstition by a degenerate race of priests, and 
the priests are supported by the people. 

No domestic incident occurs in a household without 
the tax of offerings or food for the Brahman. Nothing 
happens without the Brahmans being " feed and fed." 
" But with the spiritual life of the people " (says Mr. Ibbet- 
son) " they have no concern. Their business as Brahmans 
is to eat and not to teach." "The universal acceptance 
of Brahmans, and the recognition of their divine right 
to be fed by the rest of the community, is the one link 
between the countless shapes of Hinduism ; this, to the 
great majority of Hindus, constitutes in practice the chief 
part of their religion." 2 Here, then, is the opinion of 

1 "Asiatic Studies," p. 2. 2 Strachey, p. 210. 

208 INDIA 

some of the most competent observers in India, and it 
is difficult to comprehend the source of that strength which 
gives Brahmanism its overshadowing and overwhelming 

None but a people sunk to the lowest depths in a 
tangle of crude and grotesque superstitions could accept 
such a sacerdotal tyranny — nothing but liberal and wide- 
spread education can lift them out of it. 

As for those sharply defined distinctions of caste 
which (so we have always been taught) separate Hindus into 
four distinct communities, they are unrecognisable in the 
present day. Exclusive of the Brahmans and Kshatryas, 
" caste means, for the most part, hereditary occupation, 
but it also often signifies a common origin of tribe or 
race." " In the enormous majority of instances caste is 
only the name for a number of practices which are followed 
by each one of a multitude of groups of men, whether 
such a group be ancient and natural, or modern and 
artificial. As a rule every trade, every profession, every 
guild, every tribe, every class, is also a caste ; and the 
members of a caste not only have their special object of 
worship, selected from the Hindu pantheon, or adopted 
into it, but they exclusively eat together and exclusively 
intermarry." 1 Even Muhammadans have castes. There 
are said to be 1429 different castes in India, of which 
Brahmans, Kunbis (agriculturists), and Chamars (leather 
workers); are the only three castes which number more 
than 10,000,000. These three include nearly 15 per 
cent, of the inhabitants of India. 

Of those repulsive aspects of Brahmanism which find 
expression in the obscene rites of Shiva worship, or in 
the fantastic eccentricities of wandering fakirs, yogis, and 
devotees, who consider a thin smear of ashes as a full 
and sufficient substitute for civilised clothes, and who live 
a life of indecency and beggary, there is no need to write. 
They are only useful to point a moral. No nation or 
people that can not only tolerate such nuisances, but look 
to them as a high and worshipful expression of a mystic 

1 Strachey's " India." 


faith that they do not pretend to understand, can possibly 
appreciate any process of upward levelling in their social 
condition that might be introduced by education under 
a government that condemns such things. We must not 
look for any popular appreciation of English rule from 
a people who hug such a religious slavery as this, and 
who take delight in their own degradation. Consequently 
the popularity, or otherwise, of English government is 
not to be considered in taking the measure of its success. 

Hindus greatly outnumber the followers of all other 
faiths put together within the limits of Hindustan. Out 
of a total of 287,000,000 in 1891, 207,000,000 were 
Hindus. But whilst the mass of the people are sunk in 
the lowest depths of a 
barbarous superstition, 
such as could never 
have been contem- 
plated by pre-Buddhis- tBBB/^SSB^&S^is^ ^ % 
tic Brahmans, there HHBH^B^^fifl^mK^ 515 ' 000 .?^- 
are, of course, many ^ Hill llBlllf S,KHS ' 74 

noble exceptions to the 
general rule ; and we 
find in all the great 
centres of civilisation 
high-minded and highly- 
educated Hindu gentlemen, equally distinguished in the 
courts of justice or the halls of science. Indeed the 
Hinduism of the cities may be said everywhere to ap- 
proximate much more nearly to the religion of the Vedas 
and ancient Brahmanical ritual than it does in the agri- 
cultural districts. 

Hindus (Brahmans and Rajputs) formed the main 
strength of the army of India in pre-Mutiny days, but 
since the reorganisation that followed on the transfer of 
the army from the East India Company's service to that 
of the Crown, the proportion of Hindus has been very 
largely reduced. They are chiefly represented by Rajputs, 
Dogras, and Gurkhas, but the Hinduism of* the latter is 
anything but orthodox. The hardy little Gurkha moun- 

Fig. 68. 

210 INDIA 

taineers are recruited from the hill districts of Kumaon 
and Nepal, and, with the Sikhs, they form the flower of 
the native army. They are a people of Indo-Tibetan or 
Mongolian extraction, small in stature, sturdy in frame, 
broad chested and broad shouldered, with the facial char- 
acteristics that distinguish all the Mongol race, and en- 
dowed with an aptitude for fighting and a spirit of 
enterprise that removes all surprise at the astounding 
successes of Chenghiz Khan and his successors in the 
Central Asian empire of six or seven centuries ago. 1 

The Sikh is allied to the Hindu by religion, and, as a 
soldier, he is as important a factor of our military strength 
as the Gurkha. He is of the Skythic race called Jat, and 
is usually of finer physique than the majority of north 
country plains men. Tall, straight, and manly ; gifted 
with perfect manners and an unassuming address, a well- 
bred Sikh is, in the best sense of the word, a native 
gentleman. With the Sikh the profession of arms is 
hereditary ; the traditions of the Khalsa uphold his pride 
in centuries of honourable warfare waged against his 
national foe, the Pathan ; and we have ourselves found 
the Sikh soldier a sturdy enemy in the field, every whit 
a match for the best troops that the British army has 
ever placed in line against him. 

The Sikh religion is a comparatively modern offshoot 
of Hinduism, with none of its debasing superstition and 
demonology. Its centre, or headquarters, is at Amritsar, 
in the Punjab, where is situated the "Golden Temple," 
founded in 1574 by Ram Dass, the Guru, or high priest, 
of the Sikhs, upon a site granted by the Emperor Akbar 
on the banks of a sacred tank, from which the city takes 
its name. Within this temple one may usually find the 
high priest reading the Grunth (the sacred book of the 
Sikhs), whilst pilgrims cast their offerings into a sheet 
spread on the marble floor before him. A copy of the 
Grunth is carried in front of the Sikh companies of a 
native regiment, placed on a cushion, with bearers waving 
" chowries " above it to preserve it from contamination. 

We must now reckon with the Muhammadan popula- 

1 Or of the Japanese in the present age. 

Fig. 69. — Upper India. 


tion of India. Throughout the country are scattered 
between 57,000,000 and 58,000,000 Muhammadans, a 
number sufficient to justify the expression that the 
empire of India is the greatest Mussulman power in 
the world. As compared with the Hindu population, the 
comparatively small number of Muhammadans in India 
affords but little indication of their political importance. 
The strictly orthodox Muhammadan is only to be found on 
the frontier, or in the great cities of the plains. Although 
we hear much of Muham- 
madan factions and of the 
constant recurrence of 
civil conflicts between 
Mussulman and Hindu, 
such outbreaks are al- 
most entirely confined to 
large towns, where the 
creed of Islam is upheld 
with something approach- 
ing to fanatical fervour. The great majority of Muham- 
madans in India are descendants of but half-converted 
Hindus ; and they are still in effect as much Hindus as 
their progenitors. Six million or seven million Muham- 
madans are to be found on the north-west frontier who 
partake more or less (for even on the frontier there are 
many half-hearted professors of the creed of Islam) of the 
fanaticism which is kept alive by the zeal of those upholders 
of the faith who dwell beyond our borders ; and if we add 
to the Mussulman strength of the frontier those descen- 
dants of former invaders or immigrants who live in the 
towns of India, we shall include the whole body of the 
faithful who uphold the orthodox tenets of Islam. 

a One-third of the inhabitants of the large towns of the 
North-West Provinces is Muhammadan, and it is the 
religious animosity which exists between them and the 
Hindus that arouses such constant attention to the power 
of the Muhammadan faith in India. As for the great 
Muhammadan agricultural population (18,000,000 of whom 
exist in Bengal alone), it is remarkable for an absolutely 

212 INDIA 

superficial form of religious belief, and is no more to be 
counted as a political factor in India than if it were 
entirely Hindu. For the most part they are quiet 
peasants, the descendants of Hindus, nominally con- 
verted. The Muhammadan sovereigns usually treated 
them as subjects, in the matter of religion, with great 
tolerance ; but more or less pressure was from time to 
time brought upon Hindus to induce them to embrace 
the faith of the ruling power. This was especially the 
case in the time of Aurangzeb, the most bigoted of the 
Muhammadan emperors. The change of faith was often 
little more than nominal, and took place to an extent just 
sufficient to save the joint property of the village com- 
munity from molestation. One section of the brother- 
hood would become Muhammadan, while the rest 
remained Hindu. The change of religion had little 
practical result, nor did it affect the rules of caste or of 
social life in the community." 1 Thus the great majority 
of Muhammadans in India hardly deserve the name. 
" Local saints and Hindu deities still have their shrines, 
even in villages held wholly by Muhammadans, and are 
still regularly worshipped by the majority, though the 
practice is gradually declining. . . . The Hindu family 
priests are still kept up and consulted as of old, and 
Brahmans are still fed on the usual occasions, and in 
many cases still officiate at weddings side by side with 
the Muhammadan priests." 2 And the Hindu meets the 
Muhammadan half-way. It is no uncommon occurrence 
to find the ziarats, or sacred shrines and burial-places of 
the frontier; visited by devout Hindu pilgrims quite as 
frequently as by Muhammadan devotees. The well- 
known shrine of the Takht-i-Suliman is held in high 
estimation by Hindus ; and it is a curious fact that 
one of the most popular shrines in the East, situated 
in Makran, and visited by thousands of Hindus and 
Muhammadans alike every year, is really sacred to a 
Mesopotamian goddess who was worshipped before Brah- 
manism was known to India. 

1 Strachey's " India." 2 Ibbetson. 



In our army, however, the Muhammadan element is 
most important. The Punjabi Muhammadan is a strong 
addition to the mixed class regiments of the Punjab and 
the frontier, and takes his place alongside the Sikh in no 
unworthy manner. The Pathan tribes of the borderland, 
Kuttaks from the Kohat district, Afridis from Tirah, 
Afghans, Baluchis, Kakurs, &c., from the southern dis- 
tricts, contribute some of the best of the raw material for 
our native military service, and as our knowledge of the 
border people extends, and mutual confidence increases, 
we shall doubtless number more and more of these fight- 
ing races in the ranks of our native army. For the best 







Fig. 70. — Lower India. 

of those qualities which combine to make a good soldier 
there is not much to choose between Balnch, Pathan, 
Sikh, or Gurkha. 

In the south of India we find that in the province 
of Madras, out of a population of nearly 40,000,000, 
nearly 35,000,000 are Hindus, and rather more than 
1,500,000 are Christians. Southern India is the habitat 
of the Dravidian races, the Tamil and Telegu (Telinga) 
people, whose origin is to be traced to quite a different 
Asiatic cradle and who reached India in prehistoric 
times by quite a different route to that followed by 
the Aryan immigrants of the north. It has long been 



conjectured that Western Asia (Media and Mesopotamia) 
was the original home of these races of the south, and 
that they passed overland by the coast districts of Persia 
and Makran (where, indeed, their representatives, the 
Brahuis, still flourish) to the western states of India. 
Gradually pushed southward by the influx of more highly- 
civilised races from the north, they have spread into 
Southern India, and filled up the waste spaces of the 
Central Provinces, where they may be found in almost 
aboriginal simplicity to this day. 

The ancient glory of the Telinga kingdoms of Southern 
India has long been dimmed ; gone, too, is that martial 
spirit which once animated these southern races, and 
made them great in the annals of Hindustan, even to the 
days of Haidar Ali and the French occupation of the 
Karnatic. Never, perhaps, in the history of the world has 
the enervating influence of climate and geographical posi- 
tion over the energies of humanity been so fully illustrated 
as in the gradual decadence of the military instincts of this 
once military people since the early days of our struggle 
for supremacy with France. 

The Madrasi is a man of peace, an agriculturist, a 
shopkeeper, an excellent man of business, and an ad- 
mirable servant rather than a soldier. But there are 
races of fishermen and boatmen on the Karnatic coasts, 
descendants of the Telingas who crossed the seas and 
founded kingdoms in Burma, who are brave and enter- 
prising in all that appertains to the calling of the sea, and 
who are certainly no whit inferior to the Bengali lascar 
as practical sailors. 

In physical characteristics these southern races differ 
most essentially from the tribes of Northern India. The 
Tamil is usually a black-skinned man of small size, but 
with no want of muscular development. His features are 
of the Tatar type without the strong accentuation of the 
Mongol, and he seldom has hair on his face. The Telegu 
people differ from the Tamils in their superiority of general 
physique, and in the general lighter colour of their skin. 
The Telegu makes a better-looking soldier, but he possesses 


on the whole less stamina than the Tamil, who, under 
favourable circumstances, exhibits fine fighting qualities. 

A marked feature in the Southern India population is 
the prevalence of Christianity. It is usual for the native 
servant in Madras to commence the enumeration of his 
many good qualities by the statement that he is, by 
religion, " same like master." The vast majority of 
Madras Christians are Roman Catholics, descendants of 
those who owed their conversion to the Christian faith 
less to the traditional preaching of St. Thomas than to the 
more stringent methods employed by the early Portuguese 
crusades, which enforced Christianity in the western 
districts of India by fire and sword. It is often but a 
superficial creed, accepted by the uneducated and ignorant 
as an intelligible alternative to the unintelligible Hindu 
mythology. The Virgin Mary is to them but a beneficent 
goddess, and the transition from Krishna to Christ is one 
which offers no material difficulty to their limited intel- 
lectual powers. 

But it is good to witness the devotion of the Catholic 
priests to their scattered flocks in Southern India. Often 
in the early months of summer, when the scorching 
breath of the hot wind shrivels the jungle and sends 
whirlwinds of dust and dried leaves scudding over the 
sun-baked plain, the bullock cart (which is the travelling 
residence of the priest) may be found under the shade of 
the village banyan tree, and the priest himself, shrivelled, 
dried, sun-hatted, cheery, and happy, teaching and minis- 
tering to his little half-clothed congregation of puzzled 
Christian adherents in these depths of darkest India. And 
so he will go on teaching and explaining and hoping 
for the best till he dies and is buried — when a few sticks 
with rags tied to them will decorate his grave, and he will 
rank as a departed " fakir " or " yogi." 

With the Tamils and Telegus of the southern pro- 
vinces are associated other Dravidian tribes, more nearly 
" aboriginal," who form no inconsiderable part of the 
total population, but who possess no great political or 
economic importance. Probably the oldest of these 

2i6 INDIA 

Dravidian races are to be found in the Nilgiri Mountains. 
There, on the rounded grassy slopes of the hills are 
collections of wattle-built huts shaped somewhat like 
elongated beehives with wooden ends, and inconvenient 
doors through which the house-owners pass and repass 
on all-fours. The people who build these huts (the lords 
of Nilgiri soil), recognised as the original landowners by 
Badagas, Kotas, and other tribes of mountaineers, are 
called Todas. They are lighter in colour than the Tamil 
of the plains, and their features are rather Semitic than 
Tatar ; but they speak a dialect of the Dravidian tongue, 
and it seems to be probable that their affinities are 

Scattered over the Nilgiris (as indeed in many places 
along the line of the Western Ghats) are stone monuments 
of a forgotten age and a lost race, to which the Todas 
make no claim, and in which they acknowledge no 
interest. Thus they are clearly the successors of a yet 
anterior race of cairn-builders — a race of higher civilisa- 
tion than themselves, many of whose customs, however, 
have been adopted by them so far as w T e can judge by the 
evidence of such relics as have been brought to light. 
The Todas are never agriculturists. Like all Indian races 
claiming the rights of first possession, they live as herds- 
men on the produce of their buffaloes. The Todas burn 
their dead, and offer sacrifices with much picturesque 
ceremony as a part of the funeral rites. One of the 
buffaloes sacrificed on these occasions always wears a 
bell, and it is this bell which connects the ritual of the 
Toda with that of the yet more ancient Dravidian who 
preceded him on the Nilgiri hills. They are not a large 
tribe, and there was some years ago a danger of their 
final disappearance from the face of India, but they are 
at present living witnesses to the fact that the advance 
of civilisation does not always tend to the extinction of 
an aboriginal population. 

The picturesque accessories which surround this small 
but interesting tribe, the wild free hills, and the sweet 
grass-covered valleys which lie amidst their folds, the 


quaintness of the Toda " mands " or villages nestling 
under the lee of aboriginal jungle ; their wildly fantastic rites 
and ceremonies amidst the grim relics of an age of rude 
stone monuments — all these combine to attract attention 
to the Todas. But politically they are not of the least 
importance ; and even ethnographically they must yield 
in interest to those Dravidian people (the Gonds) who 
occupy the wildest recesses of jungle-covered India, and 
who to this day set up monoliths and a crude imitation 
of dolmens over the remains of their buried dead. 

That part of India which lies east of the lower Godavari 
Valley, the wilderness of hills and highland that enclose 
the great tributary of the Godavari, called the Indravati, 
south of the Mahanadi, may well be called " darkest India." 
Here there are thousands of square miles of country be- 
longing to the dependency of Bustar into which the Euro- 
pean has seldom penetrated. Neither the fascinations of 
sport (for these districts swarm with big game), nor the 
exigencies of civil administration, are sufficient to attract 
the white man into those unvisited jungles if they can be 
avoided, for they are perhaps the most pestiferous jungles 
of India. The survey of that country was only carried 
out at a lamentable cost of life, both European and native. 
There, hidden away in reed-covered plains, in cane brakes 
and teak forests, often at a considerable altitude above sea 
(where the western flanks of the Eastern Ghats are ap- 
proached), are rude wattle-and-stick-built villages, hiding 
a people who wear but little clothing, and who flee from 
their homes into the rocks and stones of the nearest hills 
as soon as a stranger approaches. They live in the forest, 
and on it. There are spasmodic attempts at cultivation 
by the rude processes of axe and fire here and there, and, 
on the fringe of Gondwana, near the Godavari, or near the 
coast, there are open spaces of rice cultivation. But the 
mainstay of the central Gonds is the jungle produce — 
roots, berries, and the products of the chase. They are 
skilful hunters and excellent shots with bow and arrow, 
and as they find bison and buffaloes, spotted deer, marsh 
deer and other smaller species, with bears, tigers, wolves, and 

218 INDIA 

pigs swarming in plenty around them, there is no lack of 
interest in their pursuits, or of food in ordinary times. 

The centre of Gondwana may be located north of the 
Indravati, in the Mardian hills. Here dwell the Maria 
Gonds. South of the Indravati, in the fork formed by its 
junction with the Godavari, are the Gotturs ; and south of 
them again, abutting in the low-lying provinces of the 
Godavari basin, are the Kois. These are all Gond tribes 
speaking a common dialect, but they differ a good deal in 
social customs, the primitive habits of the southern people 
being much modified by contact with the Hindus of the 
plain country. The Koi (otherwise Koiwar) is a small 
wiry man with Turanian features, dark skinned, lazy in 
habits, and physically wanting in muscle. His hair is 
twisted off his head into a knot ; he has no hair on his 
face, and his high-pitched (though not unmusical) voice 
and fancy for beads and ornaments (which are generally 
displayed in great profusion round his neck and arms) 
give him a particularly effeminate appearance. The dress 
of the Koi is usually limited to a single loin-cloth, and a 
vast quantity of beads round the neck, which represent 
more or less his wealth and social status. He is fond of 
aping the manners of his Hindu neighbours, when he 
has any ; and near the Godavari he is generally known as 
Koi Dora (or Koi gentleman), a distinction which is 
somehow admitted by the other tribes. His gentlemanly 
instincts are shown by his aversion to hard work, and he 
much prefers tending cattle and basking in the sun to any 
form of manual labour. 

The Gottur is taller, fairer, and physically stronger. 
He is much more suggestive of the aboriginal yellow 
races of Chaldaea than any other Dravidian I have met. 

The Marias are the wildest of the Gonds, and it is 
very difficult to establish intercourse with them. Many 
of the Marias are light in colour, and the absence of 
hair on their faces is not so universal as one would 
expect in the purest type of Gond. Living in the fast- 
nesses of the hills they are exposed to great vicissitudes 
of climate, and their habit of sleeping between fires 


frequently leads to their being covered with the scars of 
burns, and adopting a grimy complexion of cinders. 
Beads and brass ornaments represent their wealth, but 
there is little of it, and they are usually sunk in the depths 
of extremest poverty. Their faith is simple demonology 
and witchcraft ; the one great goddess that all of them 
recognise is Matadevi, the goddess of smallpox, whose 
influence is acknowledged as much for good as for ill, 
with a simplicity of reverence which says much for the 
hardness of life amongst them, and the insecurity of its 
tenure. Many a little swing with a few grains of rice 
as offerings is set up by the road-side to propitiate Mata- 
devi. All these people erect monuments to their dead — 
monoliths where stone is abundant and slabs of gneiss are 
handy, and wood where stone is not available. The 
wooden posts are often curiously carved, and it is usual 
to find a rough imitation of a peacock as the headpiece, 
often clothed with decorative strips of cloth so as to re- 
present the original bird more completely. At the foot 
of the post there is generally a slab of stone, which is 
used both for sacrificial purposes and as an altar for 
offerings made to the spirit of the departed. Their festi- 
vals, their customs, and their wild fantastic dances which 
form part of the recurrent rites of burial, would fill an 
interesting chapter ; but we must leave the Gonds, and 
turn to a yet more ancient, more perfectly aboriginal 
people, who occupy another of the untraversed districts 
of Central India, and who represent those tree and serpent- 
worshipping races whom the Aryans found in posses- 
sion of the plains of Hindustan when they first arrived 
from Central Asia. 

The Bhils occupy a portion of the Mahratta state of 
Indore, and a section of Rajputana and Khandeish. 
Where the Narbada runs its straight course through a 
network of hills thrown out by the Vindhya and Satpura 
ranges to the point where, bursting through these en- 
closing mountains, it spreads itself out into a wide stream 
in the plains of Bombay — there is the home of the Bhil. 
For the shrines and temples that Brahmanism has erected 

220 INDIA 

on the banks, or the overhanging spurs of this sacred 
river, the Bhil cares little or nothing, although he is not 
untouched by Hindu influences ; but the river itself he 
" regards with veneration and terror." " The Bhils " (says 
Sir Lepel Griffin) " are held by the Hindus amongst whom 
they live in profound contempt. The Brahmanical creed 
with its caste exclusiveness, and its insistence upon purity 
of blood in the male line, gives it a contemptuous air 
towards all aliens . . . which is the real cause of the 
estrangement between English and Indians, which is often 
erroneously attributed to the coldness and reserve of 
the former. But the attitude of the Hindu towards the 
English is rather that of the Pharisees of Jerusalem 
towards Pilate and the Roman legions. The contempt is 
mingled with a very strong proportion of respect, fear, 
and esteem. But towards the Bhil, the slave of slaves, 
the outcast of centuries, the very refuse and waste of the 
old world before the Aryans arose and gave it the rudi- 
ments of civilisation, the sentiment of the Hindus is 
unmitigated scorn." But the Rajput chiefs and their 
ministers who overlord the Bhils have been compelled 
by the British Government to relax the burden of their 
oppressive taxation, and to observe the rights of the Bhils, 
and there has thus sprung up a spirit of confidence in 
English justice amongst these savages which has gradually 
ripened into mutual respect and liking between English 
and aborigines. 

In spite, however, of Rajput scorn for the Bhil, the 
original proprietary rights of the latter over the soil is 
recognised in a singular custom. The coronation cere- 
mony of a Rajput chief in any state where there is a Bhil 
population is not considered complete unless the " Tika " 
— or mark of kingship — is impressed " upon the fore- 
head of the new chief by the head of the Bhil family to 
which this hereditary privilege belongs. . . . The Maha- 
rana of Udaipur is the highest in rank and descent of all 
the princes of India, tracing his lineage to the Sun, yet on 
the day of his installation it is the despised Bhil who 
places the sign of kingship on his forehead." 


The Bhil is as much a cattle lifter and thief as the 
Scotch borderers of 200 years ago. He " proclaims him- 
self to be a thief by Divine decree as part of the curse 
pronounced upon his ancestors by the great god Ma- 
hadeo when he slew the sacred bull," but he is gradually 
losing his predatory habits and taking to agricultural 
pursuits. So long as his crops flourish and times are 
prosperous the Bhil is fairly well behaved, but in times of 
drought and famine, when streams run dry and there is no 
fish, and " when the wild animals leave his neighbourhood 
for distant and low-lying jungles where they can obtain water 
and shelter, then the Bhil in self-preservation turns with a 
light heart to the congenial occupation of cattle lifting." 

Some years ago a military corps of Bhils was raised, 
which has done much to reclaim these people from their 
wild habits. The corps has proved a success. The Bhil 
soldier may not be much to look at when compared to 
the more regular sepoy of the Indian army, but he is an 
excellent policeman (as might he expected from his 
original trade) ; he is an adept at every sort of woodcraft, 
an excellent shot, and possesses marvellous powers of 
endurance. Withal he is most astonishingly truthful ; 
his oath taken on the head of his dog is never known to 
be false ; he is gay, light-hearted, and a sad drunkard. 
Like the Gurkha, he is savage in his cups, and nine-tenths 
of the crimes committed amongst Bhils are the result of 
alcoholic fury aroused by the spirit of the Mohwa, the 
fruit which is found abundantly in the forests of the 
Central Provinces. 

The Bhil lives much on natural produce, collecting 
honey and roots and berries. It is a curious fact that 
years of drought and famine are usually years of special 
abundance in jungle produce ; the ber (jujube) Mohwa, 
bamboo, and Corinda shrub contribute greatly to mitigate 
the effects of famine amongst these people. The Bhil 
worships the gods of the Hindus more or less, but his 
principal deity is the local village god ; his idols are 
usually mere heaps of stones, and he never builds temples. 
Traces of tree worship are to be found amongst them 

222 INDIA 

still, and it is curious that the local name for the teak tree 
(Sag) should be also the name for a snake. They burn 
their dead, and have a profound belief in ghosts, witches, 
and omens. 

Sir Lepel Griffin, who knows them well, believes that 
the Bhil country offers a fine field for missionary enter- 

Yet more aboriginal, possibly, even than the Bhils are 
certain races which we find in the islands adjacent to 
India, notably the Andamans and Nicobars. The Anda- 
manese appears to be a negritic race, with many of the 
more strongly marked characteristics of the true negro 
wanting in them. They are a race of small people, 
exquisitely moulded and of perfect figures, with curly, but 
not woolly, hair, dark skins, and the habits of savages. 
They have yet to be properly placed on the ethnographical 
scale of humanity. The yet more savage inhabitants of 
the Nicobars are ethnographically entirely distinct from 
the Andamanese, and their affinities are undoubtedly with 
the Malays. 

Many of the races of Western India, who are of no 
political importance and who are never brought into 
contact with Europeans through the ranks of the native 
army are well worth the attention of ethnographers. 
Such, for instance, are the Coorgs, whose mountainous 
habitat is dovetailed in between Mysore and the Malabar 
and Kanara districts. The men are described as mus- 
cular, handsome, and tall, and the women fair, well- 
proportioned, and good-looking, although they are as a 
rule small compared to the men. The Coorg race has 
ever been noted for its loyalty, and the Coorgs afforded 
material assistance to the Government in the third Maisur 
Campaign against Tippu Sultan. They are permitted to 
carry arms, and are noted for their marksmanship and 
their prowess as hunters. They are, nevertheless, ignorant 
and superstitious, worshippers of " demons and ancestors, 
and dealing in charms and sorceries," and blood feuds 
are sustained amongst them with all the hereditary vin- 
dictiveness of the Pathan. 


But the variety of nationalities is great in India, and 
ethnographic distinctions are as varied as the differences 
of social manners and customs. From the princely and 
arrogant Afghan to the artificial tail-wearing Naga (of 
the Tibeto-Burman group), who dances his war-dance on 
the top of a hill, and wags his tail as a symbol of defiance ; 
from the highly-educated Bengali sceptic of Calcutta to 
the provincial landowner (not far removed from him) who 
will sacrifice a human victim in order to secure a favour- 
able decision of the High Court, humanity may be found 
and studied in India in all its aspects and phases both of 
physical and moral eccentricity. It is impossible to refer 
to even a tithe of the ethnographic interests that will be 
found contained in the continent between the Indian 
Ocean and the Bay of Bengal. But we may well ask, 
Which of all the races of India have shown the highest 
aptitudes for upward development ? — which of them can be 
claimed as affording really satisfactory evidence that the 
civilisation of England has had any decided effect in 
raising the moral standard of the people, or of securing a 
strong and intelligent body of political adherents ? The 
most cultured races, and indisputably the most intellec- 
tually advanced, are the Bengalis (with whom may be 
associated the Mahratta Brahmans of Bombay) and the 
Parsis. But education so far has apparently conduced 
far more to political agitation and discontent than it has 
to social and moral improvement or material strength. 
One hears far more of the screams of agitators than of 
any satisfactory witness to a full and just appreciation of 
the advantages of British rule in India. Yet the appreci- 
ation undoubtedly exists, and exists widely, and with most 
strong vitality, but it does not advertise its existence in the 
native Press, nor air itself in the British Parliament. The 
fact is that political discontent is a profession in India just 
as it is elsewhere — men live by it, and advertisement is 
necessary to provide for its support. 

Thus it happens that of all the many peoples of India 
the Parsi and the Bengali are perhaps the best known 
and the least understood in England, for individuals 

224 INDIA 

amongst them alone can command the ear of the British 
public, and these individuals are seldom really in touch 
with their own communities. The Parsi looms especially 
large with his portly figure, strange hat, and affable 
manners. He is the representative of the ancient 
Zoroastrian fire worshippers, who were driven from 
Persia by religious persecution in pre-Muhammadan 
times. Like other people of Western Asia, they found 
their way along the coasts, and have left evidences of 
their pilgrimage near the shores of the Arabian Sea. 
They maintain the rites of their ancient faith in their 
Bombay settlements, or wherever else they spread ; 
keeping up the sacred household fire, and building their 
grim temples of silence, where the body which may not 
pollute the earth is exposed to the voracity of the birds 
of the air. They live the lives of hard-working, money- 
making men of business. The Parsi is essentially a 
shopkeeper, rivalling the Jew in his capacity for making 
and retaining wealth ; but he is often generous and 
open-hearted, freely affording his assistance to the weaker 
brethren of his own faith, and prominent in those 
larger works of charity which enlist the votaries of all 
faiths. He is loyal (in spite of those occasional indi- 
cations of a tendency to political agitation to which I 
have referred), because it is to his interest to be loyal. 
His communal existence depends on the stability of 
the English Government in India. Under its protection 
he can traffic and flourish, and multiply the race of those 
who add to the economic development of the country, 
without being called on to furnish any contingent to those 
defensive engines, armies and fortifications, which secure 
his continued existence. 

The chief of his strongholds is Bombay. Here the 
Parsis hold all the best of the house property, almost to 
the exclusion of Europeans ; but they may be found in 
scattered units through the length and breadth of India, 
and always in the capacity of the shopkeeper, the man 
of commerce, often holding high and responsible posts 
in the public interests. The strength of intellectual 


capacity, added to the material wealth which is pos- 
sessed by this community, have given it abnormal pro- 
minence, the measure of which may be estimated by the 
fact that out of a total of 287,000,000 inhabitants of India, 
the Parsis do not number even one-tenth of a million. 

Equal to the Parsi in intellectual capacity, but 
distinctly inferior in physique and the manlier attributes 
of the Asiatic races, is his Aryan brother, the Bengali. 
Like the Parsi, the modern Bengali is the result of the 
English occupation of India. Without that occupation 
his effeminate, indolent, and cowardly nature would long 
ago have led to his disappearance before the stronger 
races of the north. It is, of course, dangerous to deal 
in generalities, and notable exceptions may certainly be 
found to this general estimate of the Bengali character ; 
but in a work like this it is only possible to deal in gene- 
ralities, and no one acquainted with the Bengali will deny 
that nationally he belongs to a comparatively contemptible 

Sir John Strachey, after quoting Lord Macaulay's 
judgment on the Bengali character, which marks him 
as " feeble, even to effeminacy," possessing a mind which 
bears " a singular analogy to his body," whilst, at the 
same time he is possessed of a certain " suppleness and 
tact," adds that what was true in the days of Macaulay is 
true still. " His (Macaulay's) description may be applied 
without exaggeration to the majority of the people of 
Western Bengal, and especially to those with whom Eng- 
lishmen come most into communication in Calcutta and 
the neighbouring districts. The Muhammadan peasantry 
of the eastern portion of the province are men of robuster 
character. It has often been said, and it is probably true, 
that Bengal is the only country in the world where you 
can find a great population amongst whom personal 
cowardice is looked upon as in no way disgraceful. 
This is no invention of their enemies ; the Bengalis 
themselves have no shame or scruple in declaring it to 
be a fact. Although it cannot be said that English 
education which has taken so deep a root has made 


226 INDIA 

any class of Bengalis more manly, it is, we may hope, 
encouraging the growth of this amongst other virtues. 
For a Bengali it is something to have begun to talk in 
grandiloquent English about patriotism, and manliness, and 
courage. Even the academic admiration of such things is 
perhaps a mark of progress. The people generally are 
acute and intelligent, patient and industrious, and when 
they get more knowledge they may become more self- 
reliant, less timid, and less helpless against wrong." Un- 
fortunately these are the people whose purely intellectual 
progress under English encouragement have brought them 
into prominent notice by reason of their capacity to 
advertise what they believe to be their " national " griev- 
ances. The people of India, as a whole, are undoubtedly 
loyal to the British Government. Such sedition as exists 
is fostered by the so-called educated classes, who regard 
agitation as a recognised way to obtain notoriety, and a 
possible means of earning a livelihood. 

I have often been asked what place is taken by the 
Eurasian amongst the social communities of India ; and 
I have often thought that but scant justice is done to an 
intelligent, sober, and industrious class which furnishes 
the material from which all the smaller wheels and springs 
of the Government machine are fashioned. Without the 
Eurasian element that machine would be most seriously 
disjointed, and it would be exceedingly difficult to find 
any other material so excellently well suited, to replace 
the Eurasian in its complicated structure. 

When Europeans and natives intermarry the result is 
Eurasian, so that not only the English, but Portuguese, 
Dutch, Danish, and French have all contributed to the 
Eurasian stock of India, and are to be recognised in the 
names of their descendants. Da Souza, Almeida, Fonesca, 
Corneille are common enough in the west and south 
of India, and are probably borne rightly enough by their 
owners. Such names as Claudius or Cornelius betray a 
desire to conceal the true patronymic, which savours of 
the bar sinister. The last census returns of the number 
of Eurasians in India is 79,800, but this can be only an 


approximation. Native Christians often call themselves 
Eurasian, and Eurasians call themselves European ; nor 
would it be possible to detect the mistake. There are 
probably many more Eurasians than appear in the census. 
One-third of the Eurasians belong to Madras. Bengal 
has only 15,000 and Bombay about 9000, many of whom 
are Goanese or of Portuguese descent. The North-West 
Provinces and Madras are the localities most favoured by 
Eurasians. In both provinces there are large communities 
or settlements (as at Dehra Dun in the north-west and 
Bangalore in the south) of an almost exclusively Eurasian 
class. Poverty and improvidence are unfortunately com- 
mon amongst them. This is largely due to their possessing 
native proclivities in the matter of early marriage. Men 
marry from the age of sixteen, and girls from the age of 
thirteen, " and, like the patriarchs of old, they all beget 
sons and daughters, the average number of births being six 
per family, nearly half of whom die in early life." Very 
few Eurasians take to agriculture. The vast majority are 
clerks, and it is in this capacity that they develop their 
best capabilities. 

In colour they range from black, through brown and 
yellow to pure white, but there are certain slight physical 
peculiarities which betray the admixture of native blood 
even in the third or fourth generation from its introduc- 
tion. The average height of the Eurasian is 5 feet 6 
inches, average weight less than 8 stone, and average 
chest measurement 31 inches. Nevertheless many of 
them are of exceptionally active habits, and some of the 
best rifle shots in India are to be found in their ranks. 
In physique they are inferior even to the Madras sepoy, 
but the Eurasian is nevertheless by no means a negligible 
quantity in estimating the strength of our national defence. 
He is absolutely loyal, amenable to discipline, fond of 
sport, and capable of endurance ; so that, as a member of 
our Indian volunteer force, he fills a very important place 
in the Indian defensive line ; and even in his own special 
civil capacity he often attains to positions of trust, dignity, 
and honour. 

228 INDIA 

No central and comprehensive authority for all the ramifications of 
race distribution in India from the earliest time to the present age 
exists. Ethnographical science has not been officially recognised in India, 
and a compilation of all the views and opinions expressed by generations 
of writers on the subject is quite beyond the scope of such a work as this. 
The most recent authorities are Bellew (for the frontier), Hunter, Lyall, 
and Griffin for the continent generally, and the most condensed epitome 
of their opinions will probably be found in articles in the Ency. Brit. 
Recent Census Reports are full of information about the people of the 
continent, but they hardly throw much light on the frontier and trans- 
frontier peoples, amongst whom, after all, that evidence has to be sought 
which will establish the origin of many of the most important sections of 
the Indian community. Ethnography has been so much in the hands of 
amateur inquirers, that it is difficult to assess the relative importance of 
the many contributions on the subject which have appeared from time 
to time in the pages of the Asiatic Quarterly Review, or in pamphlets 
published under the authority of the Government of India. Undoubtedly 
a very large field for research is still open. Meanwhile it is only possible 
to collate such information as is to be found in the works of writers on 
Ancient India with the opinions of modern administrators who have had 
exceptionally good opportunity for local observation. Owing to the want 
of systematic supervision every fresh inquiry in the field of ethnography 
is at present conducted as if no previous inquiry into the same field had 
ever been made, and no lines of division had as yet been drawn between 
the main Central Asiatic sources of the Indian population. 




For purposes of administration the 965,000 square miles 
of territory which constitute British India are divided into 
eight leading provinces, each of which is under its own 


Fig. 71. 

local government, and certain smaller divisions. The 
provinces include the old Presidencies of Madras and 
Bombay, the Lieutenant-Governorships of Bengal, the 
United Provinces (old "North-West" Provinces, with which 

the Chief Commissionership of Oudh is combined), the 




Punjab, and Burma, and the two Chief Commissionerships 
of Assam and the Central Provinces. The minor divisions 
are Coorg, Ajmere-Merwara, British Baluchistan, the 
Andaman islands, and the new North-West frontier pro- 
vince, each under a Chief Commissioner. All are governed 
on the same principles, but they are not all on the same 
administrative footing. 

Madras and Bombay are still officially regarded as 

oven soo to the sf -mile: EJ 

2O0S0O ■ ■ B 

200 ■ r. .-....., M 

SO-ZOO. ....... - • ..EL 

UFiDBX SO - ■ ■ • L 

Fig. 72. — Density of Population. 

Presidencies. Their governors are appointed by the Crown, 
and each of them has an executive council, consisting of 
two members of the Civil Service appointed by the Crown. 

The Lieutenant-Governors are appointed by the 
Governor-General with the approval of the Crown. The 
Chief Commissioners are appointed by the Governor- 
General in Council. 

Each province includes " divisions " under commis- 
sioners, and each division is broken up into " districts " 
under a collector-magistrate or a deputy commissioner, 



who has entire control of the district. There are about 
250 of such districts in British India. 

In area and population the provinces and commis- 
sionerships vary from 1583 square miles inhabited by 

Fig. 73. — Madras Presidency. 

178,300 people in Coorg, to 151,453 square miles and a 
population of 66,750,500 in Bengal. The administrative 
responsibilities of the Andamans (estimated by population) 
are even less than those of Coorg, but the area over which 
they extend is indefinite. 

The governors of the ancient Presidencies of Madras 



and Bombay, being appointed by the Crown, are usually 
men of high social standing in England (occasionally even 
of higher rank than the Governor-General himself), whilst 
Lieutenant-Governors and Commissioners are almost in- 
variably selected from the ranks of Indian officials. These 
governors may almost be regarded as the last surviving 
relics of an epoch in India which is rapidly passing away 
under improved conditions of internal communication. 
Although Bengal, once the leading Presidency, has sub- 
sided to a provincial level, much of its ancient prestige 
still clings to it. Of the four army corps into which the 
army of India is divided, one is still called by the name of 
" Bengal," although it is doubtful whether there is a single 
Bengali recruit in its ranks, nor are its chief military 
stations to be found within the boundaries of the province. 

It is only lately that the 
great ruling class of India 
— the Indian Civil Service 
— has ceased to be dis- 
tinguished in three great 
divisions as belonging to 
Bengal, Madras, or Bom- 
bay, and probably some 
little time yet will pass ere 
Englishmen in England 
cease to regard India (like 
Gaul of old) as " divided 
into three parts." 

Besides, and apart 
from, the provinces of 
British India, there are nearly 600,000 square miles of terri- 
tory included in the native states — states which are governed 
by their own rulers subject to certain definite control exer- 
cised by the supreme Government. These will be dealt 
with separately. At present we will define as concisely as 
possible the nature of that supreme Government in India — 
a Government which is the most astonishing, and in many 
respects the most successful administrative machine that 
the world has ever known. 

Fig. 74. — Area of Native States. 


Ever since the dark episode of the Mutiny in 1857-58 
revealed the weak points in the old East Indian Company's 
administration, India has been brought directly under the 
Crown, the present form of the Government of the Indian 
empire being established by the Government of India 
Act, which received the Royal Assent on August 2, 1858. 
On January 1, 1877, the Queen of England assumed the 
title of Empress of India. As in the days of the Company, 
so also in these days the constitution of the Indian Govern- 
ment is dual — i.e. it is conducted by an Administrative 
Council in England, and an Executive Council in India. 

The Secretary of State for India is invested with all 
the powers formerly exercised by the Company, and he is 
assisted by a Council of not less than ten members, 
appointed by himself, who advise on questions of finance 
and revenue, but have little to say to foreign policy 
or war. 

The supreme executive authority in India is invested 
in the Governor-General in Council, often styled the 
Government of India. Since 1858 the Governor-General 
has also been Viceroy. He is assisted by a Council of 
five members appointed for five years, who represent 
seven different departments of Indian administration, as 
follows : Home, Foreign, Finance, Military, Public Works, 
Revenue and Agriculture, and Legislature. 

In addition to the five ordinary members the Com- 
mander-in-Chief is usually appointed an extraordinary 
member. He is the executive rather than the advisory 
officer to Government in military affairs, the Government 
adviser being the military member of Council, who may 
be, and often is, of junior rank to himself. 

Additional members can be added, up to the number 
of sixteen, by the Governor-General, for purposes of 
legislation only. 

Thus there are practically four members of the Indian 
Civil Service, one lawyer, and two soldiers on the Vice- 
roy's Council. In every administrative department there 
is a Secretary to Government, whose business it is to 
prepare all cases for submission to the Governor-General 

234 INDIA 

by the departmental member, so that they may be ready 
for decision. These officers are not secretaries to the 
members, but secretaries to Government in the various 
departments in which they serve, so that their position 
is analogous to that of permanent under-secretaries in 
England. In this distribution of administrative authority 
there is one striking omission. There is apparently no 
Member of Council for Foreign Affairs. This is explained 
by the fact that the Governor-General himself represents 
the Foreign Department, combining the functions of poli- 
tical member with his other duties. 

But there is, of course, a Secretary in the Foreign 
as in other departments, who submits all questions of 
Foreign Policy direct to the Governor-General ; so that, 
whilst all the internal affairs of the Indian Government 
demand the attention first of the Secretary to Government, 
next of the Member of Council whom they specially 
concern, and finally of the Governor-General, the Foreign 
Policy alone is matured by a secretary and sanctioned by 
the Governor-General, whose administrative attention has 
to be divided between the Foreign and six other depart- 

The local Governments of Madras and Bombay still 
retain something of their former dignity and independence. 
Two members of the civil service and the local Com- 
mander-in-Chief formed the Council till lately. But the 
commands in Madras and Bombay have been reduced to 
a level in dignity with those of the Punjab and Bengal — 
which are undoubtedly more important — and the Com- 
mander-in-Chief in Madras and Bombay is no longer 
" His Excellency." In Ceylon, where the united military 
forces do not amount to half a brigade, he still retains this 
dignity. The Governors can add to their Councils from 
four to eight additional members for legislative purposes. 
Half of these members must be non-official. 

The Government of the four great regulation provinces 
of India — i.e. Bengal, the United Provinces, the Punjab, 
and Burma^is administered by Lieutenant-Governors 
appointed by the Governor-General. They are always 


members of the Indian Civil Service, and they have a 
Legislative Council only. A secretary and an A.D.C. 
usually represent the staff of these high officials, who 
govern provinces as big as European countries, and guide 
the destinies of " men in nations." 

In 1870 the Governor - General made regulations 
having the force of law for those provinces of India 
which had more recently come into our possession, and 
which not being considered fully ripe for the more com- 
plicated systems of administration which applied to the 
older and more settled districts, had been known as the 
non-regulation provinces. The chief difference between 
regulation and non-regulation as applied to the form of 
government, lay in the fact that in the latter executive and 
judicial functions were combined in one and the same 
person, fewer officers were employed, and the adminis- 
trative staff were drawn either from the covenanted Civil 
Service, from the ranks of the Staff Corps, or from the 
uncovenanted service, and not from the covenanted service 
only. The Central Provinces and Assam are still known 
as non-regulation provinces, but there is in these days very 
little difference between the forms of government in 
regulation and non-regulation districts, the chief nominal 
distinction being that the latter are placed under the 
control of a Commissioner instead of a Governor or 
Lieutenant-Governor, and that the Commissioner need 
not necessarily belong to the Indian Civil Service. 

Nothing, perhaps, is less understood in England by 
the public generally than the status of the civil servants 
of the Indian Government. We may divide them into 
two distinct classes : the " covenanted," and the " uncoven- 
anted." The covenanted civilian is the man who takes 
his place in the service by the results of a competitive 
examination. He is, par excellence, the representative of the 
" Indian Civil Service," and he may, if he likes, place the 
letters I.C.S. after his name. To him belongs by pre- 
scriptive right the highest offices in the land, many of 
which can only be held by a member of his service. 
The Indian Civil Service is the governing class of India, 

236 INDIA 

and the testimony of a long succession of Viceroys 
witnesses to the success with which the high functions 
of this service are discharged. The Indian Civil Service 
is called " covenanted " because after passing an examina- 
tion a covenant is made with Government in the person 
of the Secretary of State for India, " not to engage in trade, 
not to take bribes, to subscribe for pensions, &c." 

The administrative offices in the regulation provinces 
are held almost exclusively by covenanted civilians, as 
well as a large share of those in the non-regulation 
provinces. In the covenanted class are included a certain 
number of the natives of India who may have attained 
their position either by direct competition, or by nomina- 
tion and subsequent qualification under the rules laid 
down by Lord Lytton in 1879. These latter virtually 
belong to the Indian Civil Service. 

Amongst " uncovenanted " civilians is included every 
public servant who does not belong either to the cove- 
nanted Indian Civil Service or to the Army. The great 
majority of civil servants belong to this category, and 
they fill some of the most important administrative posts 
in the empire. Sir John Strachey has pointed out that 
there are still many branches of the administration for 
which it is impossible to find duly qualified natives. Civil 
Engineers, Telegraph and Forest Superintendents, and 
the superior officers of the Educational and Public Works 
departments must still necessarily be Europeans. Ap- 
pointments to the Educational Department are made by 
selection by the Secretary of State. The other depart- 
ments referred to are officered by Englishmen who have 
been through a course of education at the Cooper's Hill 
Engineering College after passing a competitive examina- 
tion for entrance. Excepting the above, all appointments 
to the civil offices of the Indian Government are made by 
the Government of India, the rule being maintained that 
qualified natives are to be employed in preference to 
Europeans in every branch of the service ; so that in all 
the subordinate offices of the Secretariat and the Public 
WorkSj Survey, Telegraph, &c, natives and Europeans 


will be found working alongside each other. It is in 
this manner generally that employment is found for that 
mixed race known as Eurasians. 

" Out of the total number of civil employees in India 
90 per cent, are natives, but of course the great 
majority of these are in minor posts. Excluding the 
765 offices held by covenanted officers, there are about 
2600 persons in the superior grades of the executive and 
judicial branches of the service, and very nearly all of 
these are natives. Thus although the higher offices of 
control are held by Englishmen, the greater part of the 
actual administration is in native hands." Sir John 
Strachey wrote this in 1888, and during the ten years 
which have elapsed since then the proportion of natives 
has increased. Every post or appointment, except 
perhaps the very highest in the land, is within the reach 
of a duly qualified native so long as it is a purely civil 

In this connection it is well to note the opinion of 
so eminent an authority as Sir John Strachey on the 
efficiency of the native civil service. After detailing the 
important part they take in magisterial and judicial work, 
he says : " I have already stated my belief that, as a rule, 
their work is quite as good as that of the English judges. 
Twenty years ago the native civil service was badly paid, 
comparatively inefficient, and not always trustworthy. 
In these respects there has been a great change. No- 
thing in the recent history of India is more remarkable 
than the change which has taken place in the standard 
of morality amongst the higher classes of native officials. 
Much of this has certainly been due to the fact that their 
positions and salaries are much better than they were, 
and that temptations to corruption have been removed. 
But I do not doubt that much has been due to their 
better education. Another powerful cause has been in 
constant and silent operation. The native officers have 
had before them, through a long course of years, the 
example of the irreproachable integrity of the English- 
men employed in the higher ranks of the public service. 

238 INDIA 

Living in an atmosphere of official uprightness has made 
native judges and magistrates upright also." 

But although a certain amount of statistical informa- 
tion is necessary to illustrate the composition of that 
corporate body in India which we call the British Govern- 
ment, it is more interesting to turn to the picturesque 
aspects of Indian administration, and to examine the 
actual working of the governing machine from the point 
of view of the native. What is it that the villager sees 
and knows of the " Sirkar " — that vague authority which 
from Olympian heights directs his destinies and shapes 
his ends ? He never goes to Simla, to Calcutta, or any 
great central town. His narrow view of the flat plains 
that produce crops in rotation under the influence of a 
rainfall with the amount and disposal of which he is not 
quite certain that the Sirkar has not power to interfere ; 
or with the rugged scantily-covered mountains that form 
the generality of his hill scenery, can scarcely grasp the 
compass of those inscrutable influences which, emanating 
now from Calcutta now from Simla, are hardly to be 
clothed in incarnate form. Pomp, magnificence, display, 
and all that is included under the generic term of 
" tamasha," these things he understands, although he 
sees but little of them ; and indeed in these latter days 
there is but little to see. 

Few, even amongst Englishmen in England, are 
inclined to concede that the Viceroy is but a hard-worked 
official, infinitely harder worked than any Secretary of 
State in England; and that he is supported by a band 
of equally hard-worked councillors and secretaries, men 
who rise early and late take rest, and eat the bread of 
carefulness in their Himalayan " Capua," just as much 
as if they were stockbrokers and merchant directors in 
London. It is curious that the popular view of Simla 
in England should be as unsound as it is. The native 
of the " flat plains " is, after all, not much more ignorant 
in regard to all that appertains to the greatness and 
dignity of the real builders and upholders of our Indian 
empire, than is the average " man in the street " at home. 


What the agricultural class of native does see and know 
is his District Officer, and it is not too much to say that 
he often believes in him and venerates him more than 
his gods. The district is the unit of Indian adminis- 
tration, the head of the district is the District Officer. 
He may be a Deputy Commissioner in a non-regulation 
province, or he may be the magistrate and collector else- 
where ; in either case his functions are much the same, 
and in both cases he is to the people for whom he lives 
and slaves the incarnation of the Sirkar, which is dimly 
recognisable in the distant background. 

The magnitude of the areas and the numbers of the 
people that are governed by young English gentlemen 
who accept their responsibilities with a light heart in 
India is often insisted on, but never too strongly. Who 
knows what England as well as India owes to this 
systematic education of Englishmen in habits of govern- 
ment and command ? Possibly two centuries of such 
practical education in India may have much to say to the 
extent of British empire elsewhere. 

It is true that in these days the District Commissioner 
is more of a pilgrim in the land than he used to be. 
He lives always in hopes of an occasional short leave 
home, and he no longer looks to his life in India as the 
real objective of his existence. His surroundings have 
changed greatly within the last twenty-five years. He 
lives in a well-built house with a well cared for garden 
surrounding it, and his young wife (it is too often for- 
gotten that official society in India is young) would be 
ashamed if her drawing-room were not as tasteful, and 
her receptions as well managed, as they would be in 
good English society at home. His home influences in 
fact are essentially English, and, so far, he is perhaps 
a little further from intimate touch with the people than 
was the case in those days when his domestic affinities 
were not always English. But the change is not a 
change for the worse. Intimate association in social 
matters is not what the natives of India ask for any 
more than they appreciate too subtle and too close an 



acquaintance with their own modes of thought or the 
ethics of their everyday life. The prejudice of caste 
is still strong, and the influence of neither District 
Commissioner, nor missionary, is extended by any effort 
to break through those social barriers which caste has 
recognised for centuries. So the District Commissioner 
takes the native as he finds him, and troubles himself 
only about his material welfare and his general good 
behaviour. " His duties, even with these limitations, are 
such as to call into action every faculty of observation 
that he possesses. There is nothing that occurs in his 
district that he does not know and provide for. In his 
functions as chief of the district he possesses a large 
share of administrative independence. He is the initiator 
of all new enterprise ; he is the fiscal officer, charged with 
the collection of revenue from the land, just as much as 
he is sometimes criminal judge l both of first instance 
and in appeal ' as well. . . . Police, jails, education, 
municipalities, roads, sanitation, dispensaries, local taxa- 
tion, and the imperial revenues of the district are his 
daily concern. He is expected to make himself ac- 
quainted with every visible phase of the social life of the 
natives, and with each natural aspect of the country. 
He should be a lawyer, an accountant, a financier, and 
a ready writer of state papers. He ought also to possess 
no mean knowledge of agriculture, political economy, 
and engineering." So says Sir W. Hunter. 

But his multifarious duties do not oppress him, and 
few lives of men offer so much happy interest in the 
concerns of everyday life as do those of a deputy com- 
missioner or " magistrate and collector." In the cool of 
the early mornings he is out with his attendant native 
satellites, and as he moves along the bordered and well- 
kept roads of the civil station, or through the crowded 
streets of the multi-coloured bazaar, his eyes are every- 
where. He is a moving " court of appeal " for all the 
small affairs of each day's existence, whether it is in the 
matter of planting vegetables or of building a new court- 
house. The interest of his morning's walk or ride is quite 


sufficiently well sustained during the heat of the day, when 
for many weary hours at a stretch he has to sit in a 
heated atmosphere of physical and moral impurity to 
decide cases on evidence which can only be slowly 
extracted from the tangled mass of untruths which 
envelop it. His evenings are given up to those social 
functions which are rendered necessary by his position as 
the local leader of European society in the station. As a 
variation on his everyday home existence there comes the 
district cold weather tour, when he makes acquaintance 
with the farther limits of his kingdom and with people 
who probably see him only once a year, and who have 
amassed a pile of business for his attention that affects 
their well-being for the next twelve months. 

Camp life, with its opportunities for sport in the 
jungles, and its sense of freedom and space in the open 
plains, is the life that renders existence in India not only 
endurable but delightful to Englishmen. It is this which 
makes India attractive, and which fills the memory after- 
wards with lively and happy recollections, when the 
business of the oven-hot u kacheri " or the more pompous 
functions of the Durbar have faded into obscurity. Such 
is the real practical everyday government of India, and it 
is only this outward and visible sign of it which is seen 
and understood by the vast majority of the 287,000,000 
souls who make up India's population. 

But besides the British Indian provinces there are 
600,000 square miles of India included in the native states, 
with a population of 55,000,000. The native states of 
India are those states which are left to native rule. They 
are in a sense feudatory states, not absolutely independent, 
but with rulers exercising more or less autocratic authority, 
subject to as little interference with their internal adminis- 
tration as circumstances will admit. It is not always, 
indeed it is not often, that the ruling power thus con- 
stituted is so happily applied for the benefit of a people 
and a country that the English Government can stand 
aloof and leave the state to take care of its own concerns 
for any long period. As a rule circumstances will not 


242 INDIA 

admit of non-interference for a period much longer than 
the living authority of some prince whose strength of 
character is sufficiently exceptional to lift him above the 
temptations that beset him on every side, and whose 
governing powers are exercised in a spirit of justice and 
mercy. Too often a wise and beneficent rule is followed 
by the haphazard administration of the vicious spendthrift, 
and the ruin of a country is only to be averted by firm 
and judicious interference. But it is not until the internal 
affairs of a state have become scandalously bad that the 
Indian Government ever exercises its right of direct 

There are, indeed, certain rights which the supreme 
Government must always assert. Political communications 
between the various native states or with any foreign power 
can only be carried on through its agency ; and no native 
state can maintain an army which is obviously unneces- 
sary for purposes of internal administration. Also any 
native chief can be arraigned and " tried for a crime of 
special atrocity by a tribunal constituted by the British 
Government," and it is unfortunately the fact that such 
rights have often had to be asserted. 

" There is always much misunderstanding about the 
status of native states, and of the chief who governs 
them. It is often believed that they are principalities 
which for some reason or other have been omitted from 
the general confiscation attendant on our advance in 
India, and that they represent the rights of ancient 
dynasties, or the glorious heritage of a nobility whose 
patent is so old as to be prehistoric, and who have escaped, 
more by good fortune than anything else, the imposition 
of a rule which elsewhere has been forced on peoples who 
hitherto had been governed by princes of their own race. 
In the majority of cases nothing can be further from the 
truth. Some of them indeed have existed in something 
of the same form that they exist to-day for many centuries, 
and their chiefs represent a race of departed princes who 
trace their lineage back into the obscurity of the pre- 
historic past. These are the states that are thoroughly 


loyal and true to us, for their rulers know that, but for 
the protection afforded them by the British Government, 
they would long ago have succumbed to the fate which 
has befallen many greater and more powerful states who 
went to pieces in the general wreck which followed on the 
dissolution of the Mogul empire in the beginning of the 
eighteenth century, or who were swamped by Sikh ambition 
in the beginning of the nineteenth. Mahrattas or Sikhs, 
Sivaji or Ranjit Sing, one or the other, could have made 
them his own long ago but for us " (so says Sir Lepel Griffin). 

The native states of India may be divided into five 
groups : Muhammadan, Hindu, Maratha, Rajput, and Sikh. 

The geographical distribution of these states is not 
unimportant when considered in relation to the strength 
in arms and armament that is maintained in different 
portions of the Indian empire. The Muhammadan states 
are scattered. Excluding for the present Baluchistan and 
Afghanistan (not officially recognised as "native states"), 
therearethose independent provinces on the bordersof Sind, 
and between the newly demarcated boundary of Afghanistan 
and the British India line, over which we exercise political 
influence of a shadowy kind, although we refrain from 
actual interference with tribal government. Those on the 
border of Sind are controlled from Baluchistan. Those 
on the border of Afghanistan are now controlled from 
Peshawur as the capital of the North-West Frontier pro- 
vince. From end to end, from Karachi to Swat, the local 
form of government is tribal. There is no central authority 
with comprehensive influence, and the process of political 
negotiation is carried on between British officials and 
native "jirgahs," or collections of the chief men amongst 
the innumerable clans into which the tribes are sub- 

In the wild mountain regions which form the barrier 
between the plains of India and the plateaux of Baluchistan 
and Afghanistan no other form of government has ever 
been found possible. Whether Afghans ruled at Delhi, 
or Brahmans reigned in Kabul, these frontier Pathans, 
through whose hills the connecting routes between Kabul 



(or Kandahar) and Delhi lie, have ever preserved their 
independence. And as an inevitable consequence they 
have always given trouble periodically, and armies and 
posts have had to be established to keep watch and ward 

Fig. 75. — Native States, Southern India. 

over their proceedings. The Baluch borderland is 
dominated easily from Quetta ; and it may now be 
treated geographically as an integral part of the " State " 
of Kalat or Baluchistan. The Pathan borderland farther 
north is not really dominated from anywhere, and a large 


2 45 

section of the Punjab Army Corps is employed in 
watching it. 

After the frontier, Haidarabad (Muhammadan) is the 
largest, and politically the most important, of all native 
states. It includes an area of 82,600 square miles, 
stretching from the border of Bombay on the west to the 
Godavari and Madras on the east, with Berar on the 
north. The best part of the Dekkan highlands belongs to 
Haidarabad. The Godavari and the Kistna flow through 
it and fertilise it ; and it possesses 1 1,500,000 inhabitants, a 
large native army, and a State railway of its own. The 
Hindu state of Mysore (Maisur, 28,000 square miles and 
5,000,000 inhabitants) lies to the south of Haidarabad, 
occupying all the central portion of the peninsula, and is 
next in political importance. In the extreme south is 
another Hindu state (Travancore) which occupies a wide 
strip of the western coast, but which is politically unim- 
portant. East of Haidarabad, and dovetailed in between 
the Godavari and the coast province of Madras, are the 
wild Gond highlands divided between two Hindu native 
States, Jaipur and Jugdulpur (or Bustar), whose remote- 
ness and insalubrity render them comparatively unim- 
portant items in the scheme of Indian administration. 

Thus we see that Southern India is very nearly 
divided between British and semi-independent territory, 
and that so long as the independence of these southern 
native states is emphasised by the maintenance of local 
armies it is necessary that we should preserve a con- 
siderable force in the south (as in the north) to preserve 
the balance of military power. 

Rajputana and Central India are (like Baluchistan) 
political agencies (answering to provinces) under the 
Foreign Department of India, and are administered by an 
agent to the Governor-General, who ranks much the same 
as a Commissioner in the non-regulation provinces. He 
is assisted by a staff of residents and political agents, who 
are officers drawn from various sources, both civil and 
military, attached to the Foreign Department. These 
two great central agencies comprise the chief Rajput and 



Maratha states — Jaipur, Jodhpur (or Marwar), Udaipur 
(or Mewar), Gwalior, Indore (Bhopal), Bikanir, and many 
other smaller states, which, with Baroda on the western 
coast, and the Muhammadan state of Bahawalpur on the 
Indus, occupy an enormous area stretching from Sind 
and the Indus to the Narbada, and from the west coast to 

Fig. 76. — Native States, Central India. 

the Jumna. In the midst of this vast independent tract, 
about half of which is desert — the other half including 
some of the loveliest tracts in the central highlands — the 
little British district of Ajmere is set in the map like a red 
island in a yellow sea. 

The Sikh states — Patiala, Kapurtalla, &c. — are col- 
lected in a group in the north of the Punjab under the 
Himalayas, and some of the smaller Rajput principalities 
are enclosed (like Chamba) within the hills. Simla is 



itself surrounded by small independent tracts of hill 
country which can hardly be classed as states. 

Amongst this large number of independent (or semi- 
independent) states, the form of government varies as 
much as does the measure of their independence. 
According to Sir John Strachey, the Muhammadan 
and Maratha states (Haidarabad, Bhopal, Bahawalpur, 
Gwalior, Indore, and Baroda) enjoy the largest measure 
of independence although they are all comparatively 
recent creations, and have all of them called for British 

Fig. 77. — Native States, Northern India. 

interference at one time or another. None of them are 
much older than the British rule in India, and none of 
them possess ancient dynasties or an historical nobility. 
The rulers are as foreign to the people as the English 
Residents at their courts, the nobility are but high officials 
of the state who owe their position to their chiefs, and 
their armies are composed of foreign mercenaries. It 
is a mistake to suppose that the vast population under 
Muhammadan or Maratha rule is governed by native chiefs 
who have any more right or title to their high position 
than has the English Government ; and it is quite an 
open question whether they prefer the foreign administra- 

248 INDIA 

tion of a native court to the foreign Government of the 
English " Sirkar." 

The Nizam of Haidarabad is chief among the native 
princes of India. He is the representative of a dynasty 
which was founded by a Lieutenant-Governor of the 
Moghul court in the time of Turk (or Moghul) supremacy 
in India, and he rules a population of 9,000,000 Hindus 
and 1,000,000 Muhammadans. " No Government in India 
has been more shamefully corrupt than that of the 
Nizam," says Sir John Strachey, and the testimony of 
Sir Lepel Griffin, who knew the native states well, is 
much to the same effect. The Maratha states (Gwalior, 
Indore, and Baroda) date from last century, and their 
chiefs are " the representatives of the predatory hordes 
which, until crushed by British arms, turned the fertile 
plains of Central India into a wilderness. The Maratha 
dynasties have nothing in common with the people they 
govern. Their race is different and their language is not 
understood." Except the rulers and their followers there 
are no Marathas in these states. 

In order to find ancient dynasties and time-honoured 
political institutions amongst the native states we must 
turn to the Rajput principalities (of which there are about 
twenty altogether) in Rajputana and Central India. 
These are states which have been preserved by the 
British Government from destruction by the Marathas, 
and the constitution of their governing power is entirely 
different from that of the Muhammadan and (so-called) 
Maratha principalities. The Rajput chief is " the hereditary 
head of a military clan, the members of which have been 
for centuries lords of the soil." He claims the highest 
descent in the land, but yet it is hardly higher than that 
of his chief officers and nobles. They are bound 
together by ancient ties of kinship, as by common 
interest, in times of danger ; but the individual power of 
the head of the clan is much restricted in times of peace. 
In these Rajput states there is often a strong bond of 
sympathy between ruler and people. Ruler and ruled 
alike refer back to the days of antiquity for their origin, 


claiming descent from the sun and the moon, and if the 
chief represents a dynasty which has governed for 2000 
years, there are many of the leading families amongst the 
people who can boast a descent no less ancient. Jaipur, 
Jodhpur, Udaipur, and Rewah are the greatest Rajput 
states, and it may be said of all of them that their 
loyalty is unquestioned. 

Chief amongst Hindu states is Mysore (Maisur), with 
a population of 4,000,000 souls. Mysore, equally with 
Rajput and Sikh states, owes its existence to the British 
Government. During the last century Haidar Ali dis- 
possessed its Hindu Rajas, and it remained under his rule 
and that of his successor, Tippu Sultan, till Seringapatam 
was taken in 1799. Then it was restored (like another 
Hindu state in Southern India — Travancore) to its former 
Hindu owners, and has remained Hindu ever since. 

The native states of the Punjab (thirty-six in number, 
with a population of 4,000,000) would have been swept by 
Ranjit Sing into one comprehensive net fifty years ago had 
we not intervened. These Sikh states (amongst which 
Patiala and Kapurthala are pre-eminent) are always loyal, 
and their administration is usually fairly good. Thus the 
modern construction of all the native states in India is 
more or less due to the break-up of the power of Maratha 
and Sikh by the British. There is not one of them that 
has a right to claim that it would have maintained its 
present vitality had English arms not supported it 
through the struggles which closed the last century and 
lasted through the beginning of this. 

On the borders of North-Western India are three great 
Muhammadan states to which we have already referred, 
i.e. Afghanistan, Baluchistan, and Kashmir. Although 
Afghanistan and Baluchistan are not usually included 
amongst the feudatory native states, they are both of 
them subject to British political control, Baluchistan 
being administered by an agent to the Governor-General, 
assisted by a staff of political officers, exactly in the same 
way as Rajputana or Central India. A portion of 
Baluchistan has been leased to the Government of India 

250 INDIA 

by the Khan of Kalat, and within the area so held lies Quetta 
and Peshin, with all those defensive works which protect 
the road to India from the side of Kandahar ; but beyond 
this recognised province under British administration, the 
whole of Baluchistan, from the borderland of Persia to 
the boundaries of Afghanistan and the Gomal River, is 
directly subject to British jurisdiction. Not so very long 
ago the Khan of Kalat was deposed by the Indian 
Government for certain atrocious crimes, and the reigning 
Khan installed in his place. The south-western province 
of Las Bela loyally recognises British supremacy. In a 
bright little garden, not far from the ancient capital of 
that small state, is the tomb of Sir Robert Sandeman, the 
man who first brought Baluchistan under British rule, 
and developed the dormant capabilities of that country 
until the Baluch wilderness became green with crops 
and orchards. No impress on the land could have been 
made more significant of British supremacy to the eyes of 
the natives of Baluchistan than this shrine (for it is already 
recognised as a sacred place for pilgrimage) of the dead 
11 Feringhi," whom they not only honoured, but loved. 

In the outlying districts of wild Makran, bordering the 
Arabian Sea, there is at present no direct and visible 
political authority ; but it can hardly be long before this 
one-time highway into India from the trade centres of 
Khorasan, as well as the sandy steppes which lie to the 
north bordering the Helmund, are brought directly under 
the eye of the British political officer. The appointment 
of a consul for Seistan will, in fact, seal the fate of South- 
western Baluchistan, so far as its absolute independence 
is concerned. 

Kalat, and all the smaller native states which com- 
prise Baluchistan, are just as much under the supreme 
control of the Indian Government as are any of the native 
states of Central India. The old rough and ready 
systems of administration, which were at first best suited 
to the idiosyncrasies of the wild border clans, are already 
giving place to the exacter and more rigid methods of 
civil " Regulations." The injured tribesman now fights his 


enemy in the court of law instead of on his own hill-side, 
and it may be doubted whether, in every aspect of its 
adaptation to the tribal politics of the frontier, the change 
is a change for the better. The more intellectual but 
physically inferior Hindu is gradually shouldering the 
Mussulman out of all the inferior posts under the central 
administration, and we may yet be edified with the sight 
of a brave and vigorous Muhammadan community prac- 
tically subordinate to a clique of grasping Hindus. 

But whatever may be the exact status of Baluch 
independence, there can be little doubt about that of 
Afghanistan. Sir Lepel Griffin is inclined to range 
Afghanistan alongside the feudatory native states of India 
on the grounds that the Amir is within the sphere of our 
political control, although he neither admits a British 
Resident to his court at Kabul, nor does he permit a 
British officer to pass into his country from India. The 
Amir himself would, however, have much to say on the 
other side of the question. We pay him a subsidy which 
goes a long way towards maintaining his army (reckoned at 
60,000 regular and 100,000 irregular troops) in its present 
state of efficiency — for it is well armed and well equipped 
with mountain artillery. But the result is inevitable. The 
great mass of the ignorant tribespeople of Afghanistan regard 
our subsidy as tribute, and believe in the Amir as a sove- 
reign ruler. He pays us nothing in return. What we 
really receive in exchange for the eighteen lakhs of rupees 
which yearly find their way to the Kabul treasury from 
India, is a certain confidence in the interposition of a 
well-armed buffer state between India and Russia, which 
is undoubtedly justified by the spirit of determined inde- 
pendence which animates every section of the heterogeneous 
elements of which the Afghan people are composed. 

Thus the Amir maintains an army which is far larger 
than that of any native chief in India (not even excepting 
the Nizam of Haidarabad), and is probably quite as 
efficient ; and we impose no limit on its extension. 
Neither can we interfere, even though crimes are com- 
mitted at the court of Kabul which would sink any 

252 INDIA 

native prince within the limits of British India from his 
throne to a prison, or at least to a state pension and 
honourable confinement. The Amir is distinctly inde- 
pendent — more independent than the Khedive of Egypt 
or the Sultan of Zanzibar ; and there must be many 
radical changes in the political relationship between Kabul 
and Simla before Afghanistan can be reckoned as a 
" native state " of India. 

Amongst the most interesting of the social problems 
which arise out of our position as an educating, as well 
as a governing, influence in India is the question of the effect 
that European civilisation, and the example of English 
methods, may have had on the character of those princes 
and chiefs who govern the native states. Below the 
throne and the court the mass of the people, agriculturists 
and traders, are much on the same educational level on 
whichever side the border they live. You will find quite 
as many (or as few) who can talk and write English 
within our own borders as within the boundaries of a 
native state. The manner of life, the modes of thought, 
the ethics of everyday existence, do not vary greatly 
amongst the ignorant masses on either side ; but amongst 
the rulers of the people, the princes, chiefs, and nobles, 
there is often a wide divergency of mind and manners. 
The divergency arises chiefly from the greater or less 
adoption of European habits whilst under tuition at the 
Government colleges (or at the hands of a European tutor), 
and subsequent association with Englishmen. 

Amongst the Rajput princes of the plains of India 
there are many who live the lives of their forefathers 
amongst their people, uninfluenced and untouched by the 
glitter and unrest of western civilisation, although they 
may be well educated after European methods, and quite 
able to take their place in any western court society with 
dignity and ease. Intensely proud and jealous of their 
position in the scale of precedence, they prefer not to 
risk the social dangers which arise from too small a 
measure of appreciation of their dignity amongst a society 
of democratic tendencies. They live on their ancestral 


estates and administer their ancestral laws, surrounded 
by nobles who never transgress the strict rules of eti- 
quette, and betray no hankering after the fascinations of 
foreign cities. This is a phase of Indian society that the 
Englishman in India hardly sees ; but it is the most pic- 
turesque phase, and in many ways the most interesting. 
Amongst the smaller native chiefs there is often the wish 
for a reputation as men of the advanced world which 
includes western sport and many western vices, but not 
the means to maintain it ; and one may find most ludi- 
crous attempts at imitation of this unattainable Euro- 
peanism in their surroundings. They are nearly all 
sportsmen — these minor nawabs and rajahs — and in the 
matter of arms and ammunition there is usually nothing 
wanting in their equipment. They have, moreover, all 
of them (whatever position they occupy in the scale of 
precedence) learnt the value of game preservation ; and it 
is not possible now to find any considerable area of 
jungle country over which the European sportsman can 
range at his own will in Rajputana or Central India ; 
though there are still thousands of square miles of un- 
wholesome jungle in the southern districts of the Central 
Provinces and in Madras where he would be right 

The disadvantages of too liberal an English education 
are often illustrated by those chiefs and nobles who have 
so completely adopted the fashions of the western foreigner 
that they are no longer in touch with their own people. 
There are some (and they are amongst the best known of 
Indian princes) who do not conceal the fact that their 
social sympathies are with the European rather than with 
the native. They even occasionally marry white girls of 
an inferior class, thereby raising up an extensive field for 
domestic intrigue, if not for actual crime, amongst those 
who are interested in the question of succession. They 
wear European clothes, adopt European habits and man- 
ners, and draw a line between themselves and the people 
they are expected to govern and whose interests should 
be identical with their own. All this cannot possibly 

254 INDIA 

tend to make them better rulers or improve their chances 
of successful administration. The best that can be said 
of them is that they are usually good sportsmen. 

Of the loyalty of those chiefs who are more intimately 
associated with the ruling powers in India there can be 
no question. There are many of them who would not 
only stand up against England's foes in the East (Euro- 
pean or native), and take their share in the perils of a 
campaign with the hereditary eagerness of soldiers born 
of a race of soldiers, but who would fall with the English 
Government, if need be, and make no sign. But even 
in this matter of political and social sympathy with the 
English in India the geographical position of the native 
states plays no unimportant part. Those Sikh states 
which lie in and below the Himalayas, which exist, as it 
were, under the shadow of the Simla mountains, are loyal 
to the last unit. Constant personal association with Govern- 
ment officials leads to a bond of union in official action. If 
discontent and criticism of our methods of government, 
and a .tendency to stir up awkward questions at inappro- 
priate seasons are to be found in India, it is in those 
states which lie farther away from the direct influence of 
the Viceregal Court, and chiefly, no doubt, amongst those 
princes and chiefs who are under the influence of the fana- 
tical spirit of Islam. 

Such a very general description of the geographical distribution of 
administrative units throughout the great continent of India as the above 
chapter contains may be found in almost any elementary treatise on 
India. Sir John Strachey, Sir W. Hunter, Sir Alfred Lyall, and many 
others have written clearly, forcibly, and conclusively on the subject of 
the magnificent administrative machinery of the great provinces of 
British India. Sir Lepel Griffin and Sir William Lee-Warner have 
equally well illustrated the nature of its relation to the self-governing 
institutions which are fostered in the native states. The reader who 
would wish to know more of the most successful system of administra- 
tion applied to a dependency that the world has ever seen would do well 
to consult these high authorities. 



The diverse character of Indian geographical features and 
climate admits of most of the agricultural produce of both 
temperate and tropical zones. In the north of India the 
climate is dry, and the long winters are cold. On the 
Himalayas it is both cold and moist ; in the low Hima- 
layan valleys it is temperate and occasionally tropical ; 
and in Southern India and Ceylon we find all the usual 
tropical conditions — a heavy rainfall at periodic intervals, 
and a moist, hot atmosphere. 

Agriculture is the pursuit of about 75 per cent, of the 
Indian population, and the changes of season and variations 
of rainfall affect the conditions of life so closely and so 
seriously that in no country in the world are the meteoro- 
logic variations so anxiously watched, and the promises of 
the future so minutely balanced as in India. When we 
leave the peninsula area and pass into the rainless 
districts on the west and north, where irrigation is the 
basis of crop production, we find much less anxiety about 
weather conditions. There the worst effects of famine 
are unknown, and the people live in contented security 
from this most dreaded of all visitations. Scarcity may 
prevail from time to time, but the gaunt spectre of actual 
starvation does not trouble them. 

In Northern India the cold weather is usually reckoned 
to last from October to April, and during that period the 
temperature occasionally falls below freezing point at 
night. Excepting in December, when rain is expected 
for a week or two, the sky is usually clear, and the sun is 
hot towards the middle of the day. Bright sunshine is 
the usual condition of the weather from one day to 
another during the cold weather months. It is then that 

256 INDIA 

the crops called " rabi " are cultivated, which depend 
chiefly upon the short winter rains for their proper 
development. Wheat is the cereal mostly cultivated in all 
Northern India during the cold weather. More than half 
(60 per cent.) of the crop-producing areas of the Punjab 
and United Provinces are taken up with the growth of 
wheat. With barley and millets 97 per cent, of the soil 
of the United Provinces is absorbed. Wheat exportation 
from the Punjab is already the chief feature of Punjab 
trade with England, the Punjab growing twice as much 
wheat as Great Britain, and equalling the total of the 
United States of America. But wheat is also largely 
grown in other parts of India, where the climate is favour- 
able. It is much cultivated in Central India, the Central 
Provinces, parts of the Dekkan, and in Bombay, and there 
has quite recently been an extraordinary development in 
wheat cultivation in the highlands of the Shan states east 
of Burma. Wheat and barley are mostly consumed by 
the wealthy classes in India, the poorer agriculturists sub- 
sisting on millets, which form the real staple of the 
country. What is usually known as ll ata " in India 
is the flour of any of these grains. It is made up into 
thin unleavened cakes called " chupattis," and eaten with 
a variety of condiments by the mass of the population of 
Northern and Central India. Probably three-fourths of 
the entire population of India live on the grain of millets, 
either J oar {Sorghum vulgare) or Bajra {Pennisetum 
typhoideum) or various kinds of pulse. Besides wheat and 
barley the cold weather crops include tobacco, opium, 
linseed, and mustard, with some of the many pulses. 

In the highlands bordering India, Baluchistan, Afghan- 
istan, and Kashmir, winter is a period of rest for the 
agriculturist. His irrigation canals are frozen, and his 
fields lie under snow. The wheat and barley crops are 
much at the same point of development as they are in 
England. There is little of them to be seen above ground. 
The rice " khets " (when they exist) are dry and hard, 
and even the " kerbi " stalks (the straw of the millet 
crops) has been gathered in for fodder for the cattle. 


This, indeed, is all that the cattle get during the winter in 
many parts of the northern frontier, and it answers 
admirably for fodder. In Baluchistan, and indeed in 
most parts of Afghanistan, where wheat (or rice in small 
quantities) is cultivated, the straw is collected and beaten 
small, and is packed for winter consumption as '* bhusa." 
Every frontier officer knows the value of a bhusa." It is 
the commissariat stand by for all frontier expeditions and 
takes the place of compressed hay and other fodders fairly 
well, but it requires large transport. 

During winter in the highlands the fruit trees (mul- 
berries, walnuts, and apricots) are bare and rigid ; the 
dreary expanse of flat terraced fields is brown and hard. 
The wild roses and hedgerows take on a copper hue, and 
the stony hills betray hardly a trace of green under the 
stiff brown pines. This is the border time for action, 
for raids on the nearest British settlement, for squaring 
accounts with the wealthy " bunniah " 1 of the plains, for 
holding " jirgahs " 2 and arranging risings, which, however 
unsuccessful they may be, keep the young tribesmen 
occupied, thins the overgrown population somewhat, and 
finds opportunity for the trial of the latest imported (or 
stolen) weapon. Then the frontier tribesman stuffs his 
pockets full of dried mulberries and walnuts ; slings on his 
back as much of the thick Pathan " roti " (a very service- 
able form of bread, thicker than " chupatties," and more 
like English bread) as he can carry in addition to his sheep- 
skin coat and his ammunition, and follows the warpath. 
He leaves nothing for an enemy to destroy excepting his 
easily-built house. Thus do the climatic and geographic 
conditions of the frontier combine to keep the military 
officials at Simla invariably busy in the winter time. 

The hot weather crops of India (called " kharif ") are 
as varied as the winter " rabi." The latter are generally 
reaped by the end of April, earlier or later according to 
the latitude. For about two months, till the end of 
June, when all the glory of early summer is about the 
highlands ; when the plains of Afghanistan are a waving 

1 Shopkeeper. 2 Clan meetings. 


258 INDIA 

field of well-grown wheat, or deep in rank lucerne ; when 
the canals run full with snow-fed streams, and the bordered 
bypaths are scented with the willow and adorned with 
wild rose and clematis— then is the period of desolation in 
the plains of India, The scorching west wind passes over 
the northern districts ; every blade of green vegetation 
disappears from unirrigated or unwatered spots ; grass 
tufts grow yellow and stiff in the bare and withered 
fields ; only the spreading banian, the pipal, and others 
of the genus ficus amongst trees, hold their own against 
the universal desiccation. 

The hot weather of the Punjab and of the frontier is 
the hottest of all hot weathers. Southern Indian heat is 

tempered by sea breezes, 

P«ha»ur^A WHEAT r 

t^^%, °T§oz^ ar Z Pa ' A Z a ' m anc ^ modified by a tropical 

JJ^Sui vegetation, but this does 

£z '" £&&< not exist in the north. 

Not till the first burst of 
rain follows the blinding 
dust storms, does the land 
wake up to a new birth ; 
and then indeed the pro- 
cess of wakening is start- 
ling in its rapidity. Then 
again does the labourer 
return to the fields with his plough and his oxen, and the 
season of agriculture makes a new departure. 

It is about the end of June that ploughing begins, 
after the earth has been well moistened with the first 
rain burst. The summer and autumn crops comprise 
chiefly the different kinds of pulse and maize, sugar-cane, 
cotton, and indigo. Rice is grown nearly all over India, 
but a hot, moist climate is the most suitable for its 
production. In Lower Bengal, and in parts of Madras 
and Bombay, in Burma and Ceylon, rice is the staple 
food of the people. In British Burma and in Lower 
Bengal from 80 to 90 per cent, of cultivated area is 
under rice. Elsewhere it is reserved for the consump- 
tion of the wealthy. But wherever irrigation exists and 




OVER 60 1 or CHOPPCO MCA ■§ 

10-607.- - - E3 

water is abundant in a warm, moist climate, there rice 
is grown during the hot weather months. In Kashmir, 
in the Peshawur Valley and its borderland, Swat, and 
even in the valleys leading up to the Afridi Tirah, rice 
is cultivated. In the Bara valley of Tirah indeed the 
rice is reckoned to be of a specially fine quality, and is 
in much demand in 
northern markets. 
Rice is also cultivated 
in the valleys of Balu- 
chistan, but not so 
much in Afghanistan, 
where the water-sup- 
ply by means of irri- 
gation is plentiful, but 
the air is dry and the 
hot weather short. 

Amongst the most FlG - 

important agricultural 

products of India tea, coffee, fruit, and jute must be included. 
Jute is grown chiefly in Bengal ; tea and coffee in such 
positions as will ensure a fairly equable temperature, with 
plenty of moisture. Tea can hardly be said to be a 

product of the plains of 


ma.nareasczj India, although it grows 

at comparatively low alti- 
tudes in Ceylon. It is 
cultivated in the Dun, or 
valley, that lies between 
the foothills of the Hima- 
layas and the Siwaliks ; in 
Kangra (also a Himalayan 
valley of low elevation) ; 
on the lower slopes of the 
Himalayas below Darji- 
ling ; in Assam and in Ceylon. It will flourish at an 
altitude as high as 7000 feet above sea ; and it is notable 
that tea grown at the highest altitudes is reckoned the best 
in point of flavour, though the yield is inferior to that 

Fig. 80. 



of the lowlands, 
altitudes in the 
superseded by 
success both in 
is now restricted 
No country 
irrigation for its 

Coffee is grown at comparatively low 

Madras hills. In Ceylon it has been 

tea. Cinchona was grown with such 

Ceylon and the Nilgiris as to lead to 

with the result that the cultivation of it 

in the world is so largely dependent on 
food-supply as India, and in no country 

Fig. 8i. — Chart of Irrigation by Canal. 

have irrigation works on a larger scale been so success- 
fully carried out. Chief amongst them are the canal- 
systems of the Ganges, Jumna, and of the Godavari, all of 
which have carried life-giving water to millions of acres of 
unproductive land. In the winter and spring months, when 
the snow lies unmelted on the Himalayan slopes, the 
great rivers which find their sources in these mountains 



run low, and carry comparatively little water to the plains. 
It is just at this season that water is urgently required for 
agricultural purposes, consequently whole rivers are at 
this season diverted into the fields. 

India and Ceylon are full of ancient and long disused 
irrigation systems. In Ceylon , at the present moment 
there in a project for restoring the old tank system of 
irrigation of centuries ago, the full extent of which has 


BASAL TIC fcV£'*3 

Fig. 82. 

hardly yet been traced out. In parts of Persia, Baluchis- 
tan, and Afghanistan the water-supply derived from irri- 
gation is the only supply available, and a system of 
underground tunnelling has been developed (called 
" Kanat " in Persia, and " Karez " in Afghanistan) which 
utilises sources lying deep below ground -level. The 
practical engineering shown in laying out these under- 
ground canals is of a very high order. Makran and 
south-west Baluchistan are full of the remains of ancient 

262 INDIA 

storage works, built in the middle ages during the days 
of Arab occupation, which are marvels of constructive skill ; 
and to this day every drop of water in the Kabul River and 
in the Hari Rud (the river of Herat) is at certain seasons 
of the year carried off to the villages and fields. 

But no such gigantic systems as the English have 
initiated were ever known in India before our advent. 
The entire volume of the Ganges at Hardwar (where it 
issues from the hills) is, during the season of low flood, 
diverted into a canal, and carried by a series of engineer- 
ing works, sometimes above, sometimes below, the lines 
of drainage crossing it from the lower Himalaya to the 
level flats of the United Provinces. Through its agency 
the Doab, or plain, intervening between the Ganges and 
the Jumna is watered. Twenty miles below Hardwar, 
where the Ganges has again developed into a river, it 
is again diverted into a second great canal. Either of 
these two canals discharge a volume of water which is 
double that of the Thames at Teddington. Three smaller 
canals tap the Jumna, and distribute its waters over a vast 
area. The Son River also provides an irrigation system, 
which is further developed in Bengal and Orissa in districts 
where the network of natural waterways does not extend. 

In the Punjab the development of canals for the 
watering of the broad plains intervening between its 
great rivers is still in progress, and every river in the 
province is laid under contribution. So large is the 
expected extent of fresh cultivation that new " Districts," 
demanding an increase of administrative staff, are already 
contemplated. In Madras the Godavari and Kistna irri- 
gation systems have been in force for many years, and 
the profit to Government realised therefrom, independent 
of the development of enormous areas of delta country 
and the salvation of millions from periodic scarcity, has 
been immense. Here the head of water required is ob- 
tained by building a weir, or anicut, across the river. 
In Sind, again, the Indus floods are utilised for irrigation, 
and the dry, arid plains of Sind are now fairly prosperous, 
and support 2,000,000 to 3,000,000 of people. 



All these systems have proved to be on the whole 
a great financial success. The Punjab canals last year 
(1896-97), taking major and minor works together, 
gave a return of 9J per cent, on the outlay. The 
returns of the Madras canals for the same year must 
also be considered satisfactory, although they were very 
unequal. The Godavari, the Kistna, and the Kavari gave 
returns respectively of 1 6 J, 
10 J, and 46 per cent., but 
many of the minor systems 
(although the minor sys- 
tems as a whole paid better 
than the major) sank to 
1 per cent, or less. One 
canal only is classed as an 
"unproductive" work. Yet 
even of this canal it is stated 
that " the canal has proved 
itself a perfect godsend in 
this year of drought, and 
in the direct and indirect 
benefits it has secured to 





21. 9'/. 

97 Z. 


man and beast within its uncultivated^ capable^ 






a/A.'??*?--' 1 ' 



ioa y. 

Fig. 83. 

influence it has fully justi- 
fied its existence." Simi- 
larly in Bombay, the 
Dekkan, and Gujrat, where 
irrigation is based on the 
tank, or storage, system, 
although irrigation cannot 

as a whole be quoted as a financial success, it proved to be 
" indirectly of great use in those districts where the general 
scarcity amounted to famine." In Bombay (as in the 
North-West) the cultivator only makes a voluntary demand 
for water when he needs it. In Madras certain areas are 
always irrigated, and rated accordingly, and the returns are 
consequently more even from year to year. But the culti- 
vator who only uses canal water in dry seasons naturally 
makes his demand precisely at the very time when storage 

264 INDIA 

is most likely to fail ; the position being that when the rain- 
fall is favourable the cultivator does not need and will 
not take canal water, and when the rainfall is deficient he 
cannot get it. Thus storage works have rarely, if ever, 
stood the test of sound financial conditions. Within the 
last ten years the revenues derived from irrigation in 
India have increased from a million and a half to three 
millions sterling. 

A few statistics are necessary to illustrate the economic 
development of India during the last half century ; but 
as this is a geographical treatise, and not a statistical com- 
pendium, they shall be made as general as possible. 

In the year 1840 the gross revenues of India 
amounted to twenty-one million sterling, in 1886 they 
were seventy-seven million, in 1896 they reached ninety- 
four million. Out of this ninety-four millions only 
twenty-nine millions are derived from taxation. Thus 
taxation does not supply one-third of the total revenues at 
the present time, although that source of income has 
somewhat increased in proportion to the gross revenues 
since the year 1886. In England taxation supplies five- 
sixths of the revenue. India is probably the most lightly 
taxed country in the world ; the average tax per head of 
the population amounting to something less than one 
rupee (is. 4d.) per annum, and this is chiefly derived 
from the taxpayer as a salt consumer. Were the rent 
included for the land he occupies (which is of course 
inadmissible as an item of taxation) it might perhaps be 

The extraordinary increase in gross revenue which is 
shown in certain decades of our Indian history is usually 
due to the increase of land revenue as we gradually 
acquired fresh territory and extended British dominion. 
Within the last ten years very little of the increase repre- 
sented by the difference between seventy-seven and ninety- 
four millions is due to this cause. Six million of it is due 
to the increase in railway receipts, a million and a half 
to irrigation, and more than seven millions to increased 
taxation. Receipts under the head of ** opium" alone 


show a marked decrease, the diminution amounting to 
about two millions and a half. 

But figures such as these do very little towards 
illustrating the growth of wealth or of general economic 
development in India. The growth of population, whether 
by natural progression or by the extension of British rule, 
may counteract the effects of increased material prosperity, 
and the problem whether India is virtually richer and its 
people more contented is not to be solved by any reference 
to statistics independent of personal observation. Where 
wide divergence of opinion exists on this subject it is 
usually due to want of such observation. 

The ryot, or agriculturist, who represents the vast 
majority of the Indian population, is, as we have already 
said, lightly treated in the matter of direct taxation. Re- 
ferring back to the last half century, Sir John Strachey 
writes that u the immense growth of the revenues has 
been in no degree due to increased taxation. If ... we 
compare the revenues of British India in 1886 with those 
of twenty-five years before, we shall find that almost 
under every head there has been a diminution rather than 
an increase in the public burdens. The land revenue . . . 
is everywhere lighter than it was. The salt duties were 
generally higher than they are now. Heavy customs 
duties were levied in the former period on every article of 
import and export, whereas there is now almost absolute 
freedom of trade." This was written in 1886, and now 
requires some modification, especially as regards the salt 
tax, which has, in some parts of India, increased, but is 
still far lower than it was twenty-five years ago. As 
regards the chief support of Indian finance, the land 
revenue, Sir John Strachey quotes Fawcett and Mill in 
support of his opinion that the rent of land cannot be 
regarded as a tax on the people when claimed by Govern- 
ment, any more than it would represent a tax if paid to 
any private landlord ; and he shows that the share of the 
rent claimed by Government has decreased enormously 
under British rule. The Moghul Government took one- 
third of the land produce, and believed themselves to be 

266 INDIA 

" practising a wise moderation." The Marathas, the native 
rulers of Bengal, and the Sikhs, took one-half or more. 
The demands of our Government are regulated on different 
principles altogether to those of native rulers. The latter 
often hardly recognised the existence of a private property 
in land, and deemed themselves entitled to the whole of 
the surplus profit 'after the expenses of cultivation had 
been paid. Thus the cultivator was considered as " en- 
titled to a bare existence ; everything else went to the 
State." " Instead of sweeping off the whole or the greater 
part of the surplus profits of the land our Government 
never takes more than a fixed share, which falls at an 
average rate of from 3 per cent, to 8 per cent, of the 
gross out-turn." 

There is, however, no need to enlarge on the ad- 
vantages of a government which has brought to India a 
reign of law, order, and justice, and which ensures that 
every man shall at least possess his goods in peace, and 
be able undisturbed to develop such instincts as he 
possesses for the betterment of his own condition in life. 
But the very efforts that are made by the State to improve 
those conditions amongst the poorer class of natives (t.e. 
the 75 per cent, who gain their living direct from the 
land) lead to difficulties, if not to actual political dangers 
such as were unknown, or uncared for, in the time of 
the Moghuls. Civil war, famine, and pestilence are either 
suppressed altogether or met with the full resources of 
a civil organisation, and so successfully combated that 
but comparatively few lives are lost in the conflict. The 
direct result is an enormous increase of population. The 
Indian native (whatever his nationality) looks on the 
business of reproduction as one of the great ends of 
existence, and so long as his environment supports him, 
he sets about it without a thought of political economic 
results. The owner of a few square yards of paddy field, 
or of half a cocoanut tree, will leave his scanty property 
to be divided amongst a dozen children with exactly the 
same results, in a minor degree, that have filled the pages 
of history with perpetual records of civil strife and blood- 


shed amongst his betters. The wonder is, not that there 
should be poverty in the land, but that there should not 
be an increase in crime out of all proportion to the 
increase in population. In Ceylon, where a single cocoa- 
nut tree is possibly the disputed possession of fifty co-heirs, 
it is said that about one murder per diem represents the 
average rate of mortality arising directly from family 
disputes over small inheritances. 

An increase of say twenty million souls in ten years 
represents the success of the Indian Government in 
dealing with those periodic visitations which in the days 
of the Moghuls thinned the population, and ensured there 
being room enough for all. Wild animals alone have 
so far defied the Government, and maintain a loss to 
humanity that is appalling, from whatever point of view 
it is considered. Twenty-one thousand people lost their 
lives from snake-bite in 1897, and four or five thousand 
more from wolves, tigers, and other animals ; but such 
numbers tell little in a sum total of millions, and do not 
affect the difficult question of providing for the wants of 
such an increase in population as Indian statistics deal 

There is no doubt a vast sum of human misery 
distributed through the lower agricultural classes of 
India. There are districts where insufficient food is 
the normal condition of the people, and there is not a 
single district probably where the indebtedness of the 
ryot is not a notorious evil. But this will always be the 
case in India, just as it is, under other conditions, in 
London and all over-populated places. Improvidence is 
not to be removed by legislation. Against this we must 
set the gross accumulation of wealth and prosperity in 
India. Who are the people who chiefly benefit thereby ? 
The answer, in India, is that it is the well-to-do classes ; 
the merchants and middlemen, the bunniah and shop- 
keepers, and in certain districts (especially Bengal) the 
large landowners who appropriate most of it. 

Still, it must be apparent to every one who has lived 
long in India, who has moved about the country and 

268 INDIA 

amongst the people, that very large sections of the 
agriculturists are certainly better off than they were 
twenty-five years ago. They live in better houses, wear 
better clothes, have more brass pots and cooking utensils, 
and their wives and daughters go about decorated with 
more bangles and ornaments than formerly. I have 
already pointed out that, under stress of circumstances, 
the aboriginal people of the jungles, the Bhils and the 
Gonds, will revert to the natural resources of their fore- 
fathers, and live on jungle products — wild fruit and roots, 
bamboo shoots and grass seeds. There are, indeed, 
tribes in Gondwana who habitually live on this sort of 
fare to this day. In the days of the Moghuls it is 
probable that the percentage of the then comparatively 
scanty population who thus supported life was enormously 
larger than it is now. We have no reliable source of 
information about those days, and no direct comparison 
is possible ; but we may quote what the Abbe Dubois has 
put on record as the standard of living which prevailed 
at the beginning of British rule in India : " In most 
provinces those who cultivate rice do not eat it, but sell 
it to pay their taxes. During the four months the Sukha 
Kala (the time of prosperity) lasts, they live on the pulse 
and millet which they cultivate in their fields. During 
the rest of the year their only daily sustenance, in almost 
all cases, consists of a plateful of millet seasoned with 
a little pounded salt and chillies. When, after paying their 
taxes and debts, they come to the end of their store of 
grain, supposing there has been any remnant, they are 
reduced to living from hand to mouth. Some of them 
borrow grain, which they promise to repay with interest 
after the next harvest ; others explore the woods and the 
banks of the rivers and tanks in search of leaves, bamboo 
shoots, wild fruits, roots and other substances which help 
them to exist, or rather prevent them from dying of hunger." 
This was the standard of living amongst the cultivators ; 
below them was a class comprising, perhaps, a half of the 
entire population, " whose standard of living was even more 
abject. They go and seek for food on the banks of rivers 


and tanks, where they find leaves and shrubs, roots and 
herbs. These they boil, as often as not without even salt 
or any kind of condiment ; and this primitive food forms, 
for the greater part of the year, the most substantial part 
of their meals." There may be poverty and indebtedness 
in these days, but it is not the poverty of the pre-British 

That India is undoubtedly amassing material wealth 
can be verified by certain trade statistics, especially by 
noting the enormous imports of gold and silver. What 
becomes of it ? Gold is not coined in India ; it is not 
a legal tender ; 1 and of the silver imported, only a portion 
(perhaps half) finds its way to the mints. What becomes 
of the remainder ? It is hoarded, turned into ornaments 
maybe, or actually buried, but not much of this amassed 
wealth is distributed amongst the great striving population 
of tillers of the soil. 

But although, under the benign influence of the Pax 
Britannica, there is a steady development of material 
wealth in India, it is only right to point out that this does 
not directly improve the position of the 168,000 Europeans 
who live in the country. Year by year does it become 
more difficult to balance income and expenditure in such 
a manner as will ensure the attainment of that " something 
over " at the last which will ease off the roughness of life's 
declining years in England. Europeans who are but 
pilgrims in the land can usually live fairly comfortable on 
their incomes, but they can carry little away with them. 
No " Pagoda tree " has been known in India for many 
years. Even the best paid and most lucrative appoint- 
ments involve expenditure in proportion to their promi- 
nence in the social scale which severely discounts their 
financial advantages. There is, indeed, more of the 
European style in general mode of living, more of inces- 
sant leave-taking and travelling to and fro, more care 
taken in keeping up presentable houses and surroundings 
than formerly ; but there is, on the other hand, less free 
hospitality, and far less expenditure on oriental luxuries. 

1 Written in 1898. 

270 INDIA 

There is, indeed, little difference between the life of the 
official Englishman in India and his life in England ; and 
nearly the whole of Indian society is official. It is this 
fact, and the exact knowledge of the social circumstances 
which surround each unit in Indian society, which leads to 
that freedom of intercourse which is one of its greatest 
charms. If Indian society is official, it is also young, and 
it is mostly happy. In a community in which all people 
are living in much the same style there is little social 
rivalry, and there arises, on the other hand, much warm 
friendship and mutual good-fellowship. 

Into the intricate question of the depreciated rupee 
we will not enter except to note a few of the general 
effects of its depreciation. Amongst natives and perma- 
nent residents, who spend their incomes in India, there is, 
perhaps, but little corresponding depreciation in their usual 
manner of living. It is true that prices have permanently 
risen almost all over India for foodstuffs ; but the wage- 
earner finds his wages higher, and has more rupees to 
spend, and the cultivator finds a more or less even balance 
between what he gets for his produce and pays for his 
scanty clothes and his seeds. The middleman and the 
bunniah gain largely, and the same may be said of 
European merchants, who buy produce in India to sell 
in English markets, and to be paid for in English gold. 
But the Government, which has large payments to make 
in England, and the European official who has to remit 
the best part of his income home for educational or other 
purposes, loses. To the Government of India a fall in 
the value of the rupee equal to one penny represents the 
actual loss of a million sterling per annum. To the 
official struggling with a growing family and the demands 
of a proper official entourage in India, the result of depre- 
ciation is almost disastrous. It is true that the rupee, in 
certain directions, still represents nearly its original pur- 
chasing capacity ; but for other reasons than its depre- 
ciation prices have undoubtedly risen on the whole. 
Wages, food, and nearly all the necessaries of life cost 
more in India than they did twenty years ago, whilst 


the straitened finances of Government have led to customs 
duty on imported European goods, to income tax, and 
other inconveniences, all of which tell on the narrowing 
income of the English civil or military officer, and reduce 
his means. 

Taking it all round, the undoubted development of 
wealth in India generally is not reflected in the increasing 
value of that return for life's labour and ability which is 
represented by an Englishman's pay. The falling rupee 
has not distressed India : it has only hampered Govern- 
ment, and made life less worth living to Government 

A few trade statistics may be quoted to illustrate the 
extent to which India is gradually widening her area of 
commercial enterprise. The chief exports of India have 
already been noted — wheat, rice, cotton, oil seeds, hides, 
and jute, with tobacco and opium, figure most largely on 
the list, and the value of them varies from year to year 
with the variations of financial conditions between Eng- 
land and India. The value of the wheat exports, for 
instance, vary between one million and five millions, the 
amount exported depending on the value of the rupee, 
and the amount of grain which a year of exceptional 
plenty or otherwise can throw into the market. Nothing 
else varies so much as wheat ; the exports of rice, 
tobacco, &c, remaining pretty even from year to year. 

The imports are chiefly clothing, metal (manufactured 
or free), with gold and silver. Material for clothing forms 
about a half of the sum total of imports. The people of 
India can find nearly all else that they require to meet 
their very simple wants within the limits of India itself ; 
consequently the value of imports are invariably less than 
that of the exports by many millions of pounds. Five 
or six years ago something akin to perfect freedom of 
commercial intercourse was established between England 
and India. 1 England maintained her duties on Indian tea 
and coffee, and India imposed duties on imported salt, on 
liquor, and on arms and ammunition only. But financial 

1 Written in 1898. 

272 INDIA 

straits in India have led to the reimposition of duties on 
cotton and on most articles of European manufacture, 
and there has always been an export duty on rice. 

The expansion of trade in India has been very rapid. 
Between the years 1873 and 1884 it increased 60 per 
cent. In 1886 it amounted to seventy-three million, 
value of imports, and ninety million, value of exports. 
In 1897 it was eighty million, and one hundred and 
nine million respectively. The difference in value be- 
tween exports and imports is returned to India by a 
process which requires a little explanation. India has 
to meet many charges in England. There is interest 
on debts incurred by English investments of capital in 
India ; interest on railway capital ; army charges, civil 
pensions, and the cost of the India office and Secretary of 
States administration. Now the difference between export 
and import values represents a sum that has to be paid in 
India for produce consumed in Europe, and this can only 
be done by sending silver to India, or by purchasing bills 
on India in London. The Secretary of State makes the 
chief demand for remittances from India, so he draws bills 
on the Government treasuries in India, and it is by means 
of these bills that the balance is struck between merchants' 
payments in India and the funds needed by the Secretary 
of State in England. There is no drain on Indian 
resources to enrich England in this process. England 
only gets paid for investments made in India, or for other 
services performed. India, indeed, only pays for her 
Government, and for the enormous amount of English 
capital invested in the country for the country's benefit. 

There is very much misconception about the financial 
value of India to England. Financially the relations 
between the two countries are those of ordinary business. 
India pays for nothing for which she does not receive a 
fair equivalent. The cost of the army, the civil charges 
for pay of her administrators and their staff, the charges 
for pensions, or for interest, are all represented in India 
by such good value as security, peace, order, and justice, 
and the benefits of economic development in railways, 


2 73 


roads, telegraphs, &c, all of which are a source of wealth 
which remains in India and makes her rich. If the 
increased wealth of India does not meet with fair distribu- 
tion, if it is apt to accumulate to the advantage of certain 
classes, and does not reach the working masses of the 
people in fair proportion, this is only what happens in all 
countries ; this may be found in England, just as much as 
in India, leading to the same results, stirring up the same 
spirit of discontent, allied probably with much more real 
misery. Political economists have yet to discover a 
remedy for these 
things. As for the 
money bags which 
Indian officials are 
supposed to carry with 
them to England on 
retirement, they are but 
the dream of fancy ! 
English officials take 
little with them to 
India, and it is certain 
that they can carry 
little out, nowadays. 

A far more inter- 
esting subject for con- 
sideration in connection with the economic development 
of India than financial statistics is to be found in her 
industrial arts and manufactures. 

Here we touch the threshold of the inner life of 
India, and we realise something of the patient endurance 
of her people through countless ages, which has de- 
veloped such visible manifestation of that intricate and 
careful thought which has directed hands gifted with 
hereditary skill. If art is sacred anywhere, it is sacred in 
India. Much of the religious mysticism which envelops 
the Hindu religion finds expression in the symbols of 
Hindu art. " No mediaeval artist working on his knees can 
exceed in devotional spirit the potter working at his clay 
in the village street, and the gold worker fashioning his 

Fig. 84. 

274 INDIA 

bangles with images drawn from the Hindu pantheon." 
So at least says Sir George Birdwood, who commences a 
most fascinating book on this subject with a full exposition 
of the outward signs and symbols of the faith of the 
Vedas. They are so intimately and unalterably asso- 
ciated with Indian art design that a comprehension of 
one is a necessary preliminary to an understanding 
of the other. Many of the outward and visible symbols 
of these principles which govern Indian design are 
exceedingly old. They may be found in Assyrian monu- 
ments, 1 in Biblical text, in a thousand other sources 
which were old when Greek architecture and sculpture 
were yet young. 

We can hardly understand the reality of that life of 
intimate association with the supernatural which is to be 
found everywhere through the length and breadth of 
India. It is not only the suggestion of art design which 
is furnished by the quaint eccentricities of Hindu pan- 
theology. " Everything that is made is for direct reli- 
gious use, or has some religious significance," says Sir G. 
Birdwood. "The materials of which different articles are 
fashioned, their weight, and the colours in which they are 
painted are fixed by religious rule," and inasmuch as 
everything in daily use in an Indian household is (or was 
until European manufactures were introduced) made by 
hand, every Indian workman is a religious artist. Designs 
for purely decorative art are derived from many different 
sources, and amongst them the representation of Dravidian 
deities (Swami) are chiefly prevalent in Madras and the 
southern districts of India, and the primitive Aryan forms 
of decoration, such as the " Knop and flower," the " tree 
of life," &c, reduced to conventional forms, is the pre- 
vailing characteristic of the art industries of the north, 
where they have been introduced through Persia and 
Turkestan. Muhammadan art is not less indicative of 
religious symbolism than that of the Hindus. Every one 
knows the " prayer carpet," although every one does not 
recognise the meaning of the debased conventional form 

1 So much so that it is often maintained that India possesses no original art. 


of the old Aryan symbols that are to be found interwoven 
in the pattern of it. 

The worst enemy of ancient forms of Indian art are 
the manufactures of Europe and what Sir G. Birdwood 
calls the " irresistible energy of the mechanical produc- 
tiveness of Birmingham and Manchester," which floods 
India with cheap designs and stifles native intelligence. 
In architecture, as in art design, mongrel styles are now 
taking the place of the traditional forms which combined 
perfect adaptation to climate and surroundings with admir- 
able success in meeting the exact requirements of the 
building. The reason of this is to be found in the fact 
that the genius of the Indian artist is purely imitative and 
not creative. He will copy anything which he believes to 
be an emanation of a higher form of civilisation than his 
own with admirable exactness. He will paint miniatures 
with minute accuracy and painstaking care, but of original 
pictorial art he has no idea. It is true that the Bombay 
art schools are educating natives to paint pictures on 
European methods, and with some success ; but at present 
this school of native art is in its infancy, and it will never 
make much impression on the mass of Indian art work- 
manship. The less that it makes, perhaps, the better. 

Another enemy to Indian art is to be found in the 
European globe-trotter — the casual visitor with wealth 
enough to tempt the artisan into cheap and unfinished 
productions for the sake of quick returns. A good 
example of this may be found in the Simla bazaars, 
where wood carving has degenerated into a half mechani- 
cal process, which results in a vast out-turn of work of 
most inferior quality executed with a cheap rapidity which 
was unknown and quite impossible to the artist of fifty 
years ago. 

In spite of modern deterioration the industrial arts of 
India form so prominent a feature in the productions of 
the country that they cannot be disregarded when dealing 
with any question of general economic progress, and a 
short reference to a few of the best known will not be out 
of place. 

276 INDIA 

In the handicrafts of India, i.e. gold, silver, and metal 
work, enamels, jewellery, and household decoration, the 
art of India is still pre-eminent, especially in those 
branches which are in least demand. The gold work of 
India is perhaps best known in the forms produced in 
Southern India, and generally called Swami. Swami 
work is the representation of the Puranic gods in gold 
ornaments, such as bracelets, armlets, &c, and very much 
of it finds its way to Europe. In India the demand is 
chiefly for household idols in gold and silver — certain 
gods being always distinguished by embodiment in gold, 
and others in silver. Situla, the goddess of smallpox, for 
instance, is always silver. The silver work of India is 
famous all over the world. Kashmir parcel gilt silver 
(said originally to have been derived from a Mongol 
source), with its Lucknow imitations, as well as Katch, 
Gujrat, and Burma " sarais " and bowls in silver repousse, 
generally exhibiting bold relief combined with intricate 
detail in design, are familiar in almost every English 
household with an Indian connection. 

A vast amount of Indian jewellery still retains its 
primitive barbaric forms, some of which are of almost 
prehistoric origin, and most of them have furnished the 
basis for modern European patterns. English ladies will 
be pleased to learn, on the authority of Sir George Bird- 
wood, that the " heart and serpent " form of European 
bracelets is probably derived from the silver fig-leaf (the 
heart-shaped leaf of the " pipal" or Indian fig), which 
still forms the sole adornment of the women of some of 
the wild tribes in Central India, and which is usually sus- 
pended from a serpentine form of waist-belt. The same 
authority mentions that a curious form of brooch worn 
by the Ladaki women in the Northern Himalayas is 
identical with one found in certain Keltic remains in 
Ireland. The form is evidently derived from symbols 
of serpent and phallic worship. The subject of Indian 
jewellery is so extensive and so varied that the reader 
who wishes to study it must be referred to the pages 
of Sir G. Birdwood's most interesting book. It is an 


increasing industry, which employs many thousands of 
Indian artisans. 

The same may be said of the brass work (which 
centres chiefly in Benares), while engraved brass is a 
widely recognised speciality which is in vast demand both 
in India and in western markets. All Hindus use brass 
utensils for domestic use, and Muhammadans as a rule 
use copper, and it is by the fashion and extent of these 
vessels that the wealth of the proprietor is best known. 
At Moradabad tin is soldered on brass and cut through to 
form foliated patterns, which are often coloured. At Poona, 
Ahmadabad, and many places in Madias, workers in brass 
are to be found. The quaint little brazen figures which 
are so popular come chiefly from Vizagapatam, but per- 
haps the finest brass work in India is to be found at 
Madura and Tanjore. 

The art of damascening, which consists in encrusting 
gold wire on steel or silver, is a speciality of Kashmir, and 
Sialkot in the Punjab. It is usually called Kuft work. 
Jaipur is famous for enamelling, and Nagpur for its inlaid 
arms of steel, the steel being obtained from the valleys of 
the Narbada and Tapti. 

But it is in the production of woven goods, cotton, 
silk, lace, embroidery and carpets, that the industries of 
India are most appreciated locally and best known abroad. 
Immense cotton manufacture still exists in India, equal 
probably to the whole export trade of Manchester ; and 
it would be impossible to enumerate all the centres of this 
enormous trade. Weaving would appear to be the chief 
employment of all the women in India. In the remotest 
village of the north-west highlands where the stony, 
steep hillsides afford a few feet of level terrace ; under the 
shade of the banian trees and palms of the Dekkan ; in 
the side alleys and slums of the great native cities ; any- 
where and everywhere in short, you may see the web 
extended in its rude frame, and women engaged in its 
management. The Punjab is especially famed for its 
weaving. Perhaps Multan, of all the Punjab cities, does 
the biggest trade in woven cloth, as the Povindahs, the 

278 INDIA 

Afghan merchants from the highlands, find their market 
here, and carry off huge bales on the backs of their shaggy 
camels to bring them profit in the bazaars of Kandahar 
and Kabul. 

Peshawur is famous for its " lungis," the head-dress of 
the Pathan frontier man — Sind, Rajputana, the United 
Provinces, all boast their specialities. In Bengal there 
is still a great trade ; but Dakka has fallen from its 
high estate, and the market for fine muslin (which takes 
its name from the Mesopotamian Mosul) is hardly in 
demand nowadays. In the time of Jehangir a muslin was 
manufactured of so fine a quality that when laid wet on 
the grass it disappeared from sight. This was called the 
" dew of the morning " (Subhnam), but there is none like 
it now. 

In the Central Provinces (at Nagpur), in Berar, Bom- 
bay, Madras (Cocanada, Vizagapatam, and Nellore) are 
found centres of the cloth trade. Silk weaving flourishes 
chiefly in the Punjab, and for lace one must go to 

Hardly less universal than the Indian weaver is the 
Indian potter. Outside every village he is to be seen, 
where the dead level of the plain rises to a small mound, 
and the accumulated debris of decades of rejected pots 
forms a point of vantage for his trade, moulding the clay 
with hands perfected by the transmission of hereditary 
skill, and surrounded with rows and circles of " ghurras," 
" sarais," and pans. The potter's trade is as old as civilisa- 
tion is old, and in India it may be studied in its primitive 
forms. As for the art applied to pottery, beyond the 
traditional lines of form it is comparatively crude. The 
Bombay and Jaipur pottery turned out in "art" schools 
is generally much admired, as is also the blue and white 
patterned glaze of the Multan productions. The latter is 
a very ancient trade ; the former comparatively new. 
But the Indian potter is not easily stirred to attempt 
western design in decoration. He cares not for wealth, 
for he cannot change his caste or his social position. So 
long as his simple wants are provided for he would rather 


not extend his business to inconvenient limits. All decora- 
tive pottery of the best class in India depends much more 
on form than on colour or glazed decoration for its effect. 
Where imitation of European art is attempted it is usually 
a ludicrous failure. The best glazed pottery of Sind and 
the Punjab boasts of a prototype in the glazed tiles of 
Nineveh and Babylon. No modern innovations can much 
improve it. 

The production of carpets of wool, cotton, and silk is 
another industry of India the antiquity of which is lost in 
the mists of tradition. In this branch of art manufacture, 
however, India can boast no originality. Colour and 
design are all borrowed from Persia, from Assyria, and 
even from Turkestan. The carpets of Kermanshah and 
Kirman in Persia are unrivalled by any Indian product. 
Even the stiff-patterned Turkoman work that is woven by 
women near Panjdeh in the Merve district, exceeds in 
excellence of workmanship and material anything to be 
found in India. Besides Persia there are extensive dis- 
tricts near Herat in which carpet-making is the chief 
industry. In Baluchistan, Afghanistan, and some of the 
Central Asian states carpets are turned out which, whilst 
they cannot boast the matchless combination of colour 
and form which are found in the best Persian products, 
are still admirable in quality and pleasing in effect. The 
carpet trade in India has received great impetus since the 
Exhibition of 185I; but in proportion as it has developed 
in extent deterioration in workmanship and design has set 
in. For much of this the jail schools of industry are 
responsible. " The mongrel manufactures of the Indian 
jails" still find warm support amongst the inartistic 
section of the English public, and jail influence has 
doubtless had a pernicious effect in all directions. 
Haidarabad and Masulipatam have suffered much. 
u Crude, inharmonious masses of unmeaning form " 
was, according to Sir G. Birdwood, a characteristic of 
Masulipatam carpets in his time. It is, however, only 
fair to add that twenty-five years has made much dif- 
ference in the appreciation of true oriental artistic skill, 

2 8o INDIA 

and much of the corruption in design that was noticeable 
twenty-five years ago — especially in Kashmir — has dis- 
appeared. Many of the Kashmir carpets manufactured 
under European supervision in these days are true works 
of art. Multan, Mirzapur, Jubbulpore, and Malabar are all 
centres of the carpet trade besides those already mentioned. 
Silk carpets are made at Tanjore and Salem, but they are 
not to be compared to the silk carpets of Kirman in 

Apart from the convincing testimony of pages of statistics which are 
to be found in the " Statistical Abstracts Relating to British India," which 
are published from time to time, officially, by the Government of India, 
every writer of note already referred to, who deals with India generally, 
has much to say about the marvellous development of the resources of 
India ; its gradual progress as a manufacturing country ; and the place 
it takes as a source of food supply to the centre of the British Empire. 
But this is a subject which very largely interests the Indian public, and 
the leading Indian journals are consequently full of it : noting the varia- 
tions which occur from time to time, and summing up results with the 
announcement of every Budget. A general review of Indian economics 
is perhaps better gathered from the pages of the Indian "dailies" than 
from any official statistical columns. I have, at any rate, to acknowledge 
my indebtedness to this source of supply ; and such opinions as I have 
ventured to express are but the reflection or echo of innumerable articles 
which have appeared in the pages of the Pioneer on the infinite variety 
of economic development which is peculiar to the land of the Hindu. 
It is to be regretted that since this book was written three or four 
years of progressive development have already passed. Three or four 
years in modern India is a period which must necessarily be marked by 
great and perhaps radical changes. It will, however, stand as a record 
(however slight) of the condition of things at the close of the nineteenth 
century, which is perhaps a useful epoch to mark in Indian history. In 
one particular, however, we need not expect any very great change to 
have occurred. In its arts and industries India is conservative, and the 
standard work by Sir George Birdwood on this fascinating subject will 
be authoritative for many years to come. 



Probably nowhere in the world can the traveller by rail 
move with more comfort than in India. Such at least 
have been the experiences of railway travel until quite 
recently. There are, however, signs that the extent of 
European passenger traffic in future may exceed the 
limits of space that has hitherto been possible to accord. 
When journeys lasting through several days and nights con- 
tinuously are the constant experience of all Indian officials, 
it is necessary that accommodation should be both suf- 
ficient and good, and certainly in neither respect has 
Indian railway traffic failed so far. Nor are the arrange- 
ments made for food and supplies generally deficient. 
There are, of course, exceptions. There are lines on 
which the improvident traveller may starve if he does not 
hedge against such calamity by making his own arrange- 
ments ; but taking them all round, Indian railways compare 
favourably with those of England, or of the Continent, in 
the matter of personal comfort. 

When complaints are heard (and they are often heard) 
of overcrowding and discomfort, it is generally the case 
that the passengers have themselves to thank for it. 
Liberal margin is allowed by the railway authorities in 
the matter of personal baggage, and the result is that an 
unnecessary amount of such baggage is packed by each 
individual into the carriage along with himself. In India, 
as is well known, it is usual for every European traveller 
to carry a full complement of bedding about with him ; 
from this he is never separated, and it is a part of his 
creed to observe all the formalities and the accessories 
that would accompany bedtime retirement in an English 

home. So that he starts with a recognised accompani- 


282 INDIA 

ment of luggage which is both bulky and inconvenient. 
The accessories of a night's rest, however, are only a 
small portion of the usual impedimenta of the British 
traveller in India. I have seen a whole camp equipment, 
with the result of two or three days' sport, all massed 
together in one first-class compartment, together with 
several dogs. Moreover Indian railway officials of the 
higher grades travel in special carriages, sumptuously 
appointed and fitted which serve as permanent quarters, 
and which are very necessary in the wilder districts. 

Thus it happens that first-class traffic on the Indian 
railways does not pay, nor has it, so far, been expected to 
pay. It is too vicarious and too intermittent for steady 
returns on most lines. With the increasing influx of 
European travellers, however, during the cold weather, it 
may in future add its quota to the excellent dividends 
earned by Indian railways in the more populous districts. 
It is the extraordinary development of the third-class, or 
native, traffic that sustains the ever-increasing returns for 
passenger service, and this is perhaps one of the most striking 
features of modern Indian travel. For it must be remem- 
bered that fifty years ago there were neither railways nor 
good road communications in the country. Fifty, or even 
forty, years ago India was the India of the previous century 
in the matter of communications. For two centuries and a 
half India had stood still, and all the conditions of Euro- 
pean life in that country in 1850 were much the same as in 
1650. The Europeanising of India has developed with 
the railways. The English atmosphere which pervades 
the house and household arrangements, the adaptation of 
Englishmen to the requirements of civilised existence in 
manners, in dress, and in morals is coincident with the 
advent of English women and English daily newspapers ; 
of clubs regulated on English principles, and the constant 
interchange of ideas with fresh arrivals from English soil. 
It is railways and roads which have effected this change. 
Soon the weary monotony of the jolting progress of the 
palankin will be an unknown and forgotten experience, 
the lumbering dak ghari will be found only in museums, 


and it will only be on the outside fringe of civilised exist- 
ence that the far more handy and practical " tonga " will 
still be running. Railways will ascend the mountains 
and pierce the frontier barriers. India will be linked up 
with Russia, and Afghanistan will be no longer permitted 
to outrival China in the persistency of a benighted isolation. 
It needs no spirit of prophecy to forecast such certainties 
as these. 

Colonel Chesney, writing of the days of the East India 
Company, says : " The Court of Directors, almost to the 
termination of their existence, did not recognise the prose- 
cution of public works as a necessary part of their policy. 
The construction of a road or a canal was regarded by 
them, in their earlier days, much in the same light that a 
war would be — as an unavoidable evil, to be undertaken 
only when it could not be postponed any longer, and not, 
if possible, to be repeated." Yet it was before the final 
disappearance of the Company that the grand trunk road 
from Calcutta to the north was laid down nearly to the 
limits of the North-West (now called the United) Provinces ; 
and the greatest irrigation project in the world, the Ganges 
canal, was completed by 1854. A year previously the 
advantages of railways in the general scheme of com- 
mercial development were urged by Lord Dalhousie, and 
it was not long afterwards that three great main lines — 
the East Indian, from Calcutta to the north ; the Great 
Indian Peninsula, from Bombay to the east ; and the 
Madras railway — were commenced. These lines were 
constructed by private companies under a Government 
guarantee of 6 per cent, on the invested capital. 

There are now (March 31, 1899) 22,491 miles of line 
open to traffic representing the property of three guaranteed 
companies and thirteen " assisted " companies, as well as 
twenty-five " state" and twenty-four native state lines. The 
East Indian is now a State line, Government retaining the 
power to purchase a guaranteed line at certain periods under 
the original terms of the contract. As comparatively little 
capital has been invested by English capitalists in Indian 
railways, Government has raised the funds required for 

8 4 


their construction and for guaranteed interest by loans, 
applying to railways the same process as was originally 
applied to irrigation works. These loans form part of the 
State debt. The net earnings of all the railways in India 
(including the West of India Portuguese line, which is 
worked at a dead loss) are about fourteen and a half 
million (expressed in tens of rupees), the net earnings of 

5' 6" Gauge open ...........tttd 

k ,, „ for Construction 

\ Less than 5' 6" Gauge open ~. :~: :--;- ::: 

„ ,, ,, for Construction 

Fig. 85. 

the East Indian line alone being four millions. Next to 
the East Indian ranks the North- Western system with a 
million and a half. The gross earnings in 1898 were 
twenty-seven and a half millions. 

In no way can the vast variety of topographical and 
ethnographical conditions that exist in India be more 
forcibly impressed on the mind than by the simple process 
of a railway journey across the length or breadth of the 
peninsula. The one can be read and marked by looking 


out of the carriage window as the train moves forward, 
and the other by a study of the swarming hordes of idle 
humanity that cluster about the stations when the train 
stands still. In this way, too, we get glimpses of the great 
cities of the East, and can emulate in the course of a 
single week the record of those saintly or commercial 
pilgrimages which occupied years, and which have left us 
the story of these same cities in the mediaeval days of 
history. The danger of such a process is the danger lest 
we forget that a superficial view of men and cities is as a 
glance at the illustrations of a great book without reading 
its pages ; and that to read the pages of such a book as 
that represented by the continent of India requires atten- 
tive study before we can even master the rudiments of the 
language in which it is written. The majority of English- 
men and Englishwomen leave India knowing as much 
about the under currents of native existence and native 
thought as they knew when first they arrived in the 
country. To them one native is as another native, and 
all natives are of one great alien family sharing a common 
stock of doubtful principles, and living but to prey on the 
European. Yet even the intelligent use of their eyes, as 
they travel day by day from west to east, might teach 
most Englishmen that there are more different " sorts " of 
natives of India — by a great many — than there are of 
natives of Europe. 

Approaching Karachi from the west, long after the 
Manora light has been sighted, nothing is visible of India 
but that which stands on its immediate borderland, i.e. the 
hills which divide Sind from Lus Bela. After a little while 
Karachi itself is indicated by one solitary square tower, 
dominating a flat, sandy plain ; and presently the plain 
breaks up into the irregularities of outline which betoken 
the existence of a town round about. This tower belongs 
to the parish church of Karachi, and was built as a land- 
mark for sailors, in architectural emulation of an Italian 
campanile. But it is the campanile without Italian 
environment, and is as much in its right place as the 
" Taj " would be in St. James's Park. The town of 

286 INDIA 

Karachi was not so very long ago a collection of buildings 
grouped in a waste of sand, with a few gravel hills standing 
seawards, against the base of which washed the ever- 
restless waves of the Indian Ocean. But the introduction 
of water from the Malir River has changed all that. It is 
now quite sufficiently supplied with trees and vegetation. 
The neat stone houses stand in pretty compounds, in 
which flowers and rare shrubs are not wanting, and there 

Fig. 86. — Karachi Harbour. 

are here and there expanses of green lawn that would be 
a credit to England. An overgrown native city, a long 
straggling cantonment, and the harbour which has made 
of Karachi a great commercial port, are the chief features 
of the place. Much land reclamation has been accom- 
plished, and more is in progress. The value of land has 
risen enormously in the course of the last fifty years ; and 
it is hardly necessary to add that most of the land is in 
the hands of the Parsis. Many of the leading merchant 
houses in Europe have their representatives in Karachi ; 



so that at the Karachi Club one may meet men of most of 
the Western nationalities, just as in the streets of Karachi 
city one may find men of as varied Eastern origin. But 
Karachi possesses little of oriental attraction. To many 
of its European commercial inhabitants the cantonment 
limits bound the horizon of India. They never pass that 
horizon, but spend the best part of a laborious existence 
in anxious anticipation of that happy time when they can 
again recross the seas. 

Leaving the dry, warm atmosphere of Karachi (an 
atmosphere which is more dry than that of Bombay and 
more warm than that of the Punjab) by the evening mail, 
the traveller loses much of 
the interest of Sind during 
the night hours, when he 
will probably (if he is well 
advised) be asleep. He will 
still have the opportunity of 
studying the idiosyncrasies 
of the Sindi, however, be- 
fore he reaches Ruk, the 
junction for Quetta. At 
Ruk he will find the neatly 
clothed and gaudily hatted 

merchant of Sind giving place to the turbaned Punjabi 
and the greasy, ringletted, Baluchi, the voluminous folds 
of whose dress are usually held together by a strap sup- 
porting his little round shield, and a belt which becomes 
a small armoury whenever he is permitted to carry arms. 
There is not the least affinity between the Baluchi and 
the man of Sind. No Frenchman and German standing 
together on the same platform of a European railway 
station could be farther apart in all national proclivities 
than these two, although both acknowledge the representa- 
tive of the same lex Britannica in the person of the blue- 
coated and yellow-trousered Punjabi policeman. 

From the hot and dusty station of Ruk the branch 
Sind-Peshin railway strikes across the hot and dusty 
desert of Kach Gandava, first passing the outlying station 

Fig. 87. — Karachi Port. 

288 INDIA 

of Jacobabad. Not thirty years ago Jacobabad was on 
the borders of Sind, where Sind and Baluchistan meet. 
It was our " frontier " station in that direction ; and when 
the war-worn old frontier soldier, General Jacob, was 
buried there (to live for ever in Baluch legends as the 
founder of one of their most holy " ziarats "), there was 
little expectation that ere long, two days' journey by rail 
would separate Jacobabad from the advanced frontier — 
the modern frontier — which finds expression beyond the 
Khojak mountains in the little new-born oasis of New 

The history of the two lines of rail which carry the 
traveller from the foot of the Baluch hills to Quetta is 
written large enough in the recent annals of Indian 
public works. The Harnai route and the Bolan route 
have much in common. They are both mountain lines 
with steep grades, and both depend on powerful engines, 
running on metals laid at an ordinary gauge for their 
haulage. Each has had its special difficulties to contend 
with. The Harnai route, which, passing through the 
valley of that name, taps a direct highroad to the valleys 
of the Zhob and Gomal half-way to Quetta, is liable to 
be overwhelmed by periodic avalanches of clay or mud 
loosened by the effects of heavy rainfall. There is no 
engineering out of this difficulty. There are mountains 
of this clay formation, and when the avalanche descends 
there is nothing to be done but to dig out the line and 
start afresh. On the Bolan line the original alignment 
carried the railway up the Bolan river bed — a stony, 
shingly ramp, which in ordinary dry seasons is easily 
traversable, and which requires no great elevation above 
the water channel to avoid flood level in ordinary rainy 
seasons. But the Bolan is subject to intermittent floods 
of most extraordinary violence, which cannot be foretold 
or foreseen. One such flood completely destroyed the 
line when it was nearly complete. So terrific was its 
power that bridges, metals, revetments, and permanent 
way were all washed into space over long stretches of the 
line, leaving " not a wrack behind." Since then a new 



alignment has been adopted, avoiding the lower reaches 
of the Bolan, and the line now follows a subsidiary 
valley called the Mushkaf, rejoining the Bolan near its 


Fig. 88.— Sind-Peshin Railway. 

head. The steepest grade on the Bolan is steeper than 
any on the Harnai. 

Both routes are picturesque in a high degree. There is 




a want of green freshness about all Baluchistan hill scenery, 
in spite of the luxuriant growth of oleander and other 
shrubs near the running streams, and of many a stretch of 
rice or wheat cultivation which surrounds the villages and 
orchards of the agriculturalist. Stern, frowning but- 
tresses of rock, and jagged-edged lines of hills, mostly 
shut in the narrow metalled way. Here and there the 
line passes hundreds of feet above the bed of a local 
torrent, and twists itself into the sinuosities of a mass of 
hard limestone. Sometimes suspended high in the air, 
sometimes burrowing through tunnelled rock, the train 
works its way upwards to the open plain of the Peshin 
Valley, into new scenery and a new climate. No stronger 
contrast can be pictured than the fiery, oven-baked heat of 
the stations near the foot of hills in summer, where even 
flies and lizards cease to live, and the intensely cold blasts 
of the winter blizzard on the upland water-parting which 
marks the change of grade, when the powdered snow 
drives in wreaths through the chinks of closed doors and 
windows, and the uncoupled engine is set to tackle the 
snowdrift alone. 

Nor is the least difficulty which presents itself to the 
Quetta mail that which is occasionally supplied by the 
flight of locusts in the early autumn. The power of the 
locust to bring a heavy train to a stand in an upward 
grade is derived from the disposition of hundreds and 
thousands of greasy bodies over the wheels and along the 
metals, and it is sometimes irresistible. 

We have already given some short account of the 
great strategic station of Quetta, and of that farthest 
advanced post, which lies beyond the great Khojak 
tunnel called Chaman. Here then, for the present, 124 
miles beyond the Quetta station, the Quetta-Kandahar 
line ends. Who shall say for how long ? Seventy 
miles intervene between Chaman and Kandahar ; 300 
more will take any railway by easy stages to Herat ; 
60 or 70 miles farther (across the only considerable 
watershed in the whole distance) link up Herat with what 
will soon be the Russian Trans-Caspian rail head. Five 



hundred miles of easy line, tapping two such centres of 
Asiatic trade as Kandahar and Herat, would connect Europe 
with India, without any intervening deserts, no hot plains, 
no shifting of cargo from rail to steamer, and would pass 
through an admirable climate and over easy grades. 

Returning to the main north-western line, which 
crosses the Indus River by the Lansdowne bridge at 



Fig. 89. — North-West Frontier— Railways. 

Sukkur, we arrive at a very interesting group of old- 
world cities, which are worth much more than a passing 
notice. Sukkur came into our possession in 1842, and 
the present town is comparatively modern. It is con- 
nected with Rohri on the left bank by perhaps the most 
remarkable bridge in India, the construction of which has 
already been noticed. From the island of Bhakkur, near 
the middle of the river, to the river bank at Rohri, a 



single span of 840 feet completes the railway connection 
with the left bank, which is thereafter followed to Multan. 
About 5 miles east of Rohri, and off the line of railway, 
are the remains of the ancient city of Alor, the capital of 
the Hindu Rajahs of Sind ere the Muhammadan conquest 
under Muhammad Kasim in A.D. 711. At that period the 
Indus washed the walls of the city, and it was not till 
about the year A.D. 962 that an earthquake split the 
limestone ridge at Rohri, and diverted the main stream 
into the new channel. The old bed of the Indus is 
crossed by a bridge about 600 feet long, the ruins of Alor 
standing on the left bank. 

Between Rohri and Multan the railway passes from 
Sind to the Punjab, but the change of province does not 
involve much change in the dreary monotony of one of 
the most tiresome journeys in India. The western 
Baluch hills have faded from sight, and the flat expanse 
of tamarisk jungle, or broken scrub-covered plain, is 
unbroken. Here and there a few patches of cultivation 
are springing into existence, giving promise of a brighter 
future for all these regions ; and whenever the banks of 
the river are approached, these trees and jungle enjoy 
a luxuriant existence. Whilst crossing the Sutlej near 
Bhawalpur, the traveller (hot, dusty, and thirsty) gets a 
glimpse of the fresh green luxuriance which encompasses 
the capital of the Bhawalpur native state ; but it soon 
disappears, and, with the exception of the Multan sur- 
roundings, there is nothing again to refresh the weary eye 
until he reaches Lahore. 

Multan, the city of the Chenab, is one of the most 
ancient, as well as one of the most interesting, cities 
(historically) of India. The red sandstone walls of the 
city stand as they stood when we captured it in 1849, 
after the murder of our two emissaries under the dome of 
the Idgah. The fort is picturesque. Here was once the 
ancient temple of the sun, and here now is a red brick 
octagon, covered with the blue and white tiles — the shrine 
of Rakhnu-din. Next to Jacobabad, Multan is perhaps 
the hottest station in India. We are still in districts that 


lie beyond the full influence of the south-west monsoon, 
and the total rainfall here is only 7 inches. 

All around us now are Punjab influences. The 
character of the people has changed with their dress and 
their manners. The Sind shopkeeper disappears with 
the Baluch borderer, and the Punjabi Mussulman, tur- 
baned and loosely clothed (polite enough when encoun- 
tered about the dusty, sun-baked little roadside stations ; 
but often truculent and disagreeable in the crowded by- 
ways and alleys of the great Punjab cities) has taken their 
place. Multan, Lahore, Rawal Pindi, and Peshawur have 
all a common stock of humanity. It is a useful stock, filling 
the ranks of the army and police with recruits, and finding 
workmen for most of the public enterprises of India ; and 
politically, it is a most important one, for the enormous 
gatherings of mixed ruffianism (including more and more 
of the worst Pathan element as one approaches the 
border) which gathers in these great towns must ever be 
a source of uneasiness in times of difficulty, and demands 
constant watchfulness even in times of peace. 

Lahore, the city of the Ravi, is the capital of the 
Punjab, and in its streets and buildings are gathered 
176,000 people. To reach Lahore we have travelled 
more than 800 miles from Karachi. The journey has 
been slow, indescribably dusty, and the scenery mono- 
tonous ; nor should we have improved it much had we 
struck off from Multan and journeyed by the Sind-Sagar 
line (which follows the Indus to Dera Ismail Khan, and 
then runs eastwards to Jehlam) to our destination. We 
should have seen a dim silhouette of the Sulimani Moun- 
tains, tinted in grey, against a glaring western sky ; and, 
if lucky, might have distinguished the dominating peaks of 
the Kaisargarh ; but such distance as intervenes between 
the Indus and the crest of the Sulimanis lends little en- 
chantment to the view, and on the whole the shorter 
route is the more profitable. Lahore (or Lahawur) is 
doubtless a very ancient city, but we find no mention of 
it earlier than the seventh century A.D., when it was in the 
hands of the Chauhan Rajputs. From them it passed 


to Mahmud of Ghazni early in the eleventh century, but it 
did not rise to magnificence till the reign of the Moghul 
Emperor Akbar. The mausoleum of his son Jehangir at 
Shahdara, on the banks of the Ravi, with the fort and 
the Shahimar gardens, is the chief attraction of Lahore. 
Lahore is surrounded by gardens, and the sweet luxuri- 
ance of verdure — still fresh when most of India is parched 
and withered — is due to the long cold weather of the 
upper Punjab. In April, and even in May, the climate 
is not only endurable, but often delightful. But the hot 
weather, if it sets in late sets in vigorously, and in July 
and August the heat is often terrific in this " city of 
dreadful night." About four miles from Lahore is the 
military cantonment of Mian Mir. Whatever advantages 
of position may have existed formerly in Mian Mir to 
recommend it as the site of a military station have so 
long disappeared as to be unrecognisable at present. 
There are certainly none apparent in the bleak and dusty 
plain which surrounds this cantonment. 

From Lahore to Peshawur is a journey through the 
historic fields of the Sutlej campaigns, and through a 
country which, in many respects, differs from that of the 
Indus Valley. It is broken into a picturesque network of 
steep-sided ravines as the train approaches Rawal Pindi, 
where the general level rises to nearly 2000 feet above 
sea. It is traversed by three mighty rivers, the Chenab, 
the Jehlam, and the Indus, all of which are crossed by 
magnificent bridges, triumphs of engineering skill, and it 
is within sight of the snow-line of the Himalayas, the 
lower spurs of the mountains reaching southward towards 
the line, and appearing, in the still clear atmosphere of 
winter, almost to touch it. At Jehlam and Rawal Pindi 
they are, however, still far distant. Beyond Pindi, which 
is an overgrown military station (the headquarters of the 
Punjab Army Corps) with a huge seething native city lying 
low on its northern flank, the undulating country is never 
monotonous, and after passing the Indus there is at times 
a certain resemblance to the Scottish lowlands in the flat 
hills covered with purple flowering plants which faintly 


recall the heather and the braes. Rawal Pindi is the re- 
cognised point of departure for the hills of Murree (Mari) 
and Kashmir, which are connected with the station by an 
excellent road. At Hassan Abdal, between Rawal Pindi 
and Attok, another road branches to Abbottabad and the 
Black Mountain, and a third connects Naoshera (between 
Attok and Peshawur) with Mardan, Malakand, and Chak- 

Of all the remarkable points on this journey perhaps 
the Attok bridge and the view therefrom is most striking. 
The stern grandeur of the white waters of the Indus sliding 
between black and broken cliffs fringed with gleaming 
strips of sand, seems rather to partake of Himalayan or of 
Tibetan scenery than that of the plains of India. It is as 
if the Indus had carried down with it a reproduction of 
one of its own reaches from the mountains about Gilgit ; 
but Indus scenery never lapses into prettiness anywhere 
in its course. Even its beauty, where the river breaks 
through the salt ranges into the plains of the Derajat east 
of Bannu, is significant of strength and sterility rather 
than of landscape loveliness. 

Peshawur, the most important of our northern mili- 
tary frontier posts (like Rawal Pindi), possesses a two- 
sided character. There is a pretty cantonment, beautifully 
laid out, and rich in all the charm of varied garden vege- 
tation which its northern climate favours. Round about 
are the everlasting hills, the peaks which overlook the 
Khaibar and the Kabul River on one hand, and the hills 
of Swat on the other, with the triple-headed mountain of 
11 Mor " over-topping them. This is the mountain of the 
"wild vine and the ivy," where Alexander sacrificed to his 
gods ; at the foot of which dwelt the Nysaeans of classical 
history. No wonder that the Amirs of Afghanistan still 
regard with longing eyes this, the fairest of cities that ever 
was an Afghan possession — the jewel of the Durani em- 
pire — the winter capital of the Durani emperors. 

The other point of view is towards the city, where an 
overcrowded and much-mixed population of the Indo- 
Afghan borderland rivals Rawal Pindi in the criminal 

296 INDIA 

annals of the Punjab. It is, however, a most important 
trade centre, and carpets, furs, skins, and clothing of 
" pashmina " and of sheepskin are gathered in the 
Peshawur bazaar which are not to be found elsewhere in 
India. Nor is the fruit of Peshawur — grapes, apples, and 
" sardar " melons from Afghanistan — to be overlooked, 
nor its curious speciality in cloth Deflowered with patterns 
in wax ; nor yet its quaint pottery — which latter, indeed, 
is more quaint than beautiful. From the strategical point 
of view Peshawur is on the north what Quetta is on the 
south — the guardian outpost of the gates of India. No 
advance into India on any intermediate line would be 
possible which left these two positions untouched. But 
there is a wide difference between Quetta and Peshawur 
as to the manner in which this guardianship is exercised. 
Quetta faces west and south, dominating all lines of ap- 
proach from Herat, Kandahar, or Seistan equally, and 
exercising a wholesome influence on the ever - restless 
border tribes which lie behind her. These tribes are still 
independent in the security of their mountains, but they 
are cut off from participation in any scheme of amalgama- 
tion with an advancing foe. Peshawur dominates the 
Khaibar route — the most important of all routes from 
Kabul ; and, with the assistance of Rawal Pindi, also 
holds the Indian ends of all possible lines of advance from 
the north and north-west. But the independent border 
tribes-people are here in front of our defences, ready to 
assume the offensive on their own responsibility, or to 
act in concert with more powerful adversaries beyond 
them — as occasion may give opportunity. The position 
in Afghanistan most analogous to that held by Quetta in 
Baluchistan would be Jalalabad, in the Ningrahar Valley, 
near the junction of the Kunar and the Kabul rivers. So 
limited is the capacity of Peshawur for the defence of the 
Khaibar that it was lately reckoned impossible even to 
protect that route from occupation by the Afridis when 
they raided northwards from the Tirah. 

From Lahore to Peshawur we have travelled 278 
miles, but we have hardly changed our climate. The 



long but never severe winter at Peshawur is balanced by 
a short but more than genial summer. Peshawur can 
hold a record for heat during two or three months of the 
year against almost any city in India. It is, as we have 
before pointed out, along the north-west frontier and 
under the border hills that the great heat record, year 

Railways Open 

// for Construction - - - - 

Fig. 90. — East Indian Railway. 

after year, is registered. There is no hot weather in the 
plains elsewhere to be compared to that of the plains of 
the Punjab; and there is, at the same time, occasionally an 
intense and searching cold. This inequality of tempera- 
ture doubtless augments the tendency to fever generated 
by the irrigated cultivation (and, we may add, the water- 
logged cantonments) of the north-west, and tend to place 

298 INDIA 

Peshawur high on the list of undesirable stations in spite 
of its many undoubted attractions. 

Beyond Peshawur we cannot at present travel by rail, 
although an extension to Jamrud at the foot of the Khaibar 
is contemplated. The connecting links that are to bring 
Kabul within a day's journey of Peshawur, and drop pas- 
sengers at Jalalabad for the Kunar route to Chitral, are as 
yet in the future. The natural terminus of the North- 
Western railway system will doubtless eventually be 
formed at Kabul. 

If we continue our journey through the Indo-Gangetic 
plain by rail, returning to Lahore from Peshawur, and 
starting thence for Calcutta, we shall witness the most 
complete development of the railway system that has yet 
permeated any part of India. There are singular natural 
facilities for railway construction in this flat expanse, and 
a singularly rich field for commercial enterprise, for it is 
here that the most important cities of India have been 
grouped from time immemorial. Delhi and Agra, Alla- 
habad, Cawnpore, Lucknow, and Benares, all either lie on 
the Great Central East Indian line or on its northern sup- 
plement of " Oudh and Rohilkand." The chief wealth of 
India is within the Ganges basin, and it is a matter of 
small surprise that the East Indian, now a State line, 
should be financially the most successful line in India. 

From Lahore to Calcutta is a distance of 1250 miles, 
of which the first 187 only are on the North-Western 

From Umballa (which is important only as a military 
station pointing the road to Simla) the East India line 
carries the trade of the north through Delhi, passing en 
route the field of Paniput (where the destinies of India 
have been decided more often than destinies equally great 
have been decided on any field in the world's history) and 
following a direct line west of the Jumna. Delhi, the 
ancient capital of Afghan and Moghul emperors, now an 
important railway centre, is in the eyes of Hindus still the 
metropolis of India. Its position, just on the edge of the 
Punjab, however, practically reduces it to a secondary 



provincial status. It is no longer the seat even of a local 
government. We are told that within the area of 45 
square miles round Delhi there are the remains of no less 
than seven cities, each of which represented the capital of 
Hindustan in its time. To us it is not the extraordinary 
wealth of Muhammadan architectural remains, nor the 

£ cafe of 


Fig. 91. 

interest of its blood-stained records of Afghan and Turk 
sovereignty, but the recent story of its capture during the 
dark days of the Mutiny that keeps Delhi in national 
remembrance. Like Cawnpore (the next great native city 
which we pass on this route) it is hallowed to us by the 
blood of our countrymen. Cawnpore (Kanhpur) is better 
known by the glorious memorial of a ghastly sacrifice 



than by any of its architectural beauties ancient or 

Allahabad is the modern seat of the Government of 
the United Provinces, and it is the great central junction 
of the Indian railway system. From Allahabad the Great 
Indian strikes south-westward to Bombay, so that here we 
find an immense central railway establishment. The city 
is about equal to Delhi in size, both including something 

Fig. 92. 

less than 200,000 inhabitants, and much inferior in archi- 
tectural interest. Allahabad may be said to mark the 
division between the climate of the north and that of 
the south of India. It is from Allahabad, northwards, 
that the general fall in temperature is usually marked. 
The ancient name of Allahabad is Prag, and its situation 
at the confluence of the Jumna and the Ganges has always 
secured for it the foremost position amongst the sacred 
cities of the Hindus. Here are special evidences of the 
strong vitality of the Brahmanism of the present ; and here 


loo there is much to be admired of Muhammadan archi- 
tectural design of the past. The station (civil and military) 
covers a vast flat expanse chequered with straggling com- 
pounds ; and, like most of the large cantonments of the 
plains of India, its huge extent is out of all proportion 
to the population it embraces. It may be quoted as a 
typical Indian station of Northern India, and as it enjoys 
a fairly extended cold weather, it is distinctly popular. 

Another important city of the Gangetic basin, Lucknow, 
we have left behind us. It lies some 50 miles to the 
north-east of Cawnpore on the Oudh and Rohilkand 
branch. Lucknow is perhaps, by virtue of its climate, 
its surroundings, the interest of its Mutiny records, and its 
attraction as a centre of sport, the most popular of all 
Indian up-stations. Agra and Benares are two other cities 
of unfathomable record and endless interest (if no longer 
strategically or politically important) connected with the 
East Indian system. To reach Agra it is necessary to 
leave the main line at Toondla, half-way between Delhi 
and Cawnpore. To reach Benares one must branch off 
from Mogul sarai, some 100 miles beyond Allahabad 
towards Calcutta. Either city is so full of the beauty of 
architectural design, each can boast so many specialities 
in art and industry, that it is sacrilege to treat them 
simply as geographical points of more or less note in con- 
nection with a utilitarian railway system. But the ancient 
traditions in which their history is lost ; the mediaeval 
romances which hang around them ; the glory of that 
Indo-Italian architecture which finds eternal expression in 
the Taj at Agra, and the grand creations of Hindu and 
Jain workmen at Benares ; the sacred veil which is drawn 
round the latter, her Ghats and bathing-places, her temples 
and palaces, her art work in brass, copper and silver 
— none of these things tell much on the traffic returns, or 
make largely for that economic development of which the 
railways are the main instrument. 

The travelling sightseer (the tourist) as a first-class 
passenger does not a pay " (as we have before intimated), 
and it is only the thronging crowd of natives, contented 



with little in the way of comfort, rather preferring hard 
seats and a chattering mass of close-packed compatriots, 
which adds any profitable returns to the gross earnings of 
the state or company. And in this connection the traffic 
returns which are directly due to the attraction afforded 
by religious festivals, ". m6las," and fairs, are worthy of 
note. On the occasion of the great fair at Hardwar, for 
instance, pilgrims in hundreds of thousands collect on one 
line and for one purpose from all parts of India. Then 
indeed are the resources of the railway officials (and their 
temper) taxed to the uttermost. It is not possible to 
convey the crowds that silently mass themselves at the 
stations awaiting their turn for forward movement. 
Whether that waiting involves one hour or one week, 
seems a matter of indifference. Natives will sit in patient 
uncomplaining rows, unmarking the lapse of time, so long 
as their turn may come at last — that turn which will 
enable them to reach the sacred banks of the holy Gunga, 
to plunge in regardless of possible drowning, regardless 
indeed of all except this one great washing of themselves 
clean from their sins ; and possibly the necessity of 
paying handsome fees to their priests afterwards. 

So far as we have travelled south-eastwards from 
Delhi along the length of the Gangetic plain, there is not 
a city which we have encountered which cannot boast of 
some distinguishing attraction. It may have been dignified 
by architectural art, by antiquity, or by history. Some- 
thing of living oriental grandeur still clings to them, and 
something of the pathos of a magnificent past. A Brum- 
magem air of contented commercial prosperity has never 
been theirs. It is only when we pass from the north-west 
into Bengal that we find dull utilitarianism prevailing — 
no architecture, no art, no manufactures even, beyond the 
products of village handicraft. 

Calcutta, with its 800,000 or 900,000 inhabitants, is the 
second city of the whole British empire, but there is 
nothing but wealth to make it famous. There is not a 
public building worth looking at. Even the historic 
Government House can only be described as the ugliest 



Viceregal residence in the empire ; the wealthy European 
inhabitants live in " marble palaces " that are usually let 
in flats. There is not one really good hotel, not a build- 
ing with more than a recent history, not a native residence 
that is remarkable for beauty either of outline or decora- 
tion. The most conspicuous monument is that of 
" Ochterlony " in the midst of the wide maidan, or plain, 
round which European Calcutta clusters, and which is 
indeed the " people's own." To the Bengali " babu" alone 
could this monument 
be a thing of beauty. 
The native quarter of 
Calcutta is in every 
sense abominable, and 
in as marked contrast 
to the native quarter of 
the sister city of Bom- 
bay as is the person- 
ality of the Calcutta 
native to that of the 
inhabitant of the west- 
ern city. A Calcutta 

crowd is as dull and unlovely as only a crowd composed 
entirely of men can be — the plain white clothing draped 
round the smooth rotundity of the Calcutta " babu," sur- 
mounted by a close-cropped black head without head- 
dress, and crowned with a cheap and dingy Birmingham 
umbrella, can be but unpicturesque either in the unit 
or the aggregate. Nevertheless Calcutta is healthy and 
wealthy, and in spite of the expense of residence in that 
city, it is so full of visitors during the short cold weather 
when the Government of India resides there, that no city 
in India has so many social attractions to offer, or such a 
varied programme of amusement. Hence it rivals Simla 
in popularity, and easily maintains its position as the first 
and greatest city of India. At Howrah, on the right bank 
of the Hoogley, opposite Calcutta, is the terminal station 
of the East Indian railway, and here the Gangetic central 
system of communication comes to an end- It pays as no 

Fig. 93. — The Position of Calcutta. 



other line in India pays, and as a suitable corollary, it is 
perhaps the most comfortable and the best found line in 
the country. The remarkable growth of the Indian coal 
trade has lately led to a large increase of rolling stock on 
this line and to the doubling of its carrying capacity. 

Changing our point of departure to Bombay we find 


Bombay/^ . 



} i 


\/WatHar ^^C? 

100 MILES 

Fig. 94. 

spreading abroad over India two important railway routes 
to the north, centring on Delhi ; two to the east, with Cal- 
cutta as the terminal objective ; and two to the south-east, 
reaching to the Coromandel coast. There is no direct line 
northwards to Peshawur (which is not far removed from 
the meridian of Bombay), because no line yet has been 


carried through the northern portions of the great Rajpu- 
tana desert lying between Bikanir and the Sutlej. Not 
long ago the recognised route to Delhi was by the west 
coast to Baroda, and thence across Rajputana, touching 
the capitals of the Rajput states of Jaipur and Alwar ; nor 
could a line more strikingly illustrative of the variety of 
Indian climate and physiography have been selected. 

From the moist sea border districts of the west, deep in 
rice cultivation and shadowed by palms ; with the dimi- 
nishing line of the Western Ghats, green and grey with the 
luxuriance of an almost tropical vegetation, on one hand, 
and the moisture-laden sea-breezes sweeping inland on the 
other, the traveller is rapidly transferred to the sand plains 
of Rajputana, streaked by lines of rocky hills and breaking 
now and then into a green oasis where water can be 
found at no immeasurable depth from the surface. He 
has passed meanwhile through some of the most lovely 
scenery of Western India, the lowlands surrounding Baroda 
and stretching through Eastern Gujrat, and he will have 
made no mistake if he has taken advantage of the change 
necessitated by the break of gauge at Ahmadabad to visit 
that historic town — a town which is second only to Delhi 
and Agra in the beauty of its architectural reminiscences 
of Hindu and Muhammadan rulers. 

A narrow gauge line distinguishes the Rajputana rail- 
way system, but the comfort of travelling is unaffected 
thereby, for the carriages are quite sufficiently roomy to 
be both convenient and cool. In Rajputana we find a 
wealth of historic interest. All the best of India's ancient 
traditions centre in Rajputana, nor is there anything in the 
whole world of historic narrative more stirring than the chiv- 
alrous romances of Rajput valour and Rajput achievements. 
The voluptuous oriental loveliness of Udaipur ; the blood- 
stained history of Chitor; the prehistoric antiquity of Ujain ; 
the beauty of Jaipur, its unrivalled arts, and antique marbles ; 
and the antiquities of Ajmir, of Alwar, and Indore, are all 
to be studied in this home of the solar race, and most of 
them are within reach of the Rajputana railway. Indore 
and Ujain are perhaps more easily reached from Bombay 


3 o6 INDIA 

by a branch line which leaves the Great India Peninsula 
railway at Khandwa. Agra, too, is touched by this narrow 
gauge line which thus includes within its network a galaxy 
of historical and architectural points of interest such as 
no other line in India can rival. In financial import- 
ance the Rajputana line stands third only to the East 
Indian and North-Western lines. 

But the traveller who would speed his journey, or the 
merchant who would avoid the inconvenience of expense 
of a break of gauge, now takes the other line to Delhi and 
the north-west — the line which, branching from the Great 
Indian Peninsula at Itarsi, makes for Delhi on an almost 
directly northward track via Jhansi. This is the Indian 
Midland, and it is not without its points of interest either, 
for it passes by the city of Bhopal through the old centre 
of the Buddhist faith at Bhilsa. The caves of Ellora and 
Ajanta, most remarkable of all surviving evidences of the 
former vitality of Buddhism in India (which, to this day, 
elsewhere numbers more votaries than any other religion 
in the world) are reached from the station of Nandgaon on 
the G.I. P. railway, about half-way to Itarsi from Bombay. 

It is not to matters of antiquarian interest only that the 
G.I. P. (Great Indian Peninsula) railway owes its wide 
reputation amongst railway systems. It is its service to 
the country as the carrier of mails, its connection with 
Calcutta across the width of the Indian continent by link- 
ing with the East Indian line at Allahabad, that makes it 
great. A few hours' run carries one from the sea coast up 
through the winding passage of the Ghats on to the central 
plateau. Once at this elevation the line never descends 
again till, after crossing the Narbada and passing Jubbul- 
pore, it drops by easy gradients into the Gangetic plain at 
Allahabad. Although there is a shorter and more direct 
route connecting Bombay and Calcutta than this — one 
which is shorter by about 125 miles, and which does not 
touch Allahabad — no time is gained by making use of it. 
The mails at present invariably follow the Allahabad route, 
and the direct line via Nagpur, Bilaspur, and Assensole is 
a commercial line only. 


It is by this latter line that a traveller through India 
can gain the most comprehensive idea as to what is meant 
by Indian jungle. Hour after hour he will be shut in by 
close and occasionally dense forest of undergrown trees 
which never rise to the magnificence of European or 
American forest growth, but which are nevertheless of 
considerable commercial value. The direct Nagpur 
route to Calcutta is about 1275 miles in length — the 
J ubbulpore- Allahabad route is 1400 miles. 

The lines from Bombay across Southern India to 
Masulipatam and Madras need little description. Up 
the Bor Ghat and as far as Kalian (33 miles) all lines 
eastward from Bombay follow the same track. From 
Kalian the Madras lines diverge and run south-east past 
the hill sanatarium of Matheran through Karli to Poona. 
Poona is 120 miles from Bombay. At Wadi, which is 
nearly central between the east and west coasts, there 
is a branch line to Haidarabad and Masulipatam, but the 
G.I. P. continues south-east to Raichur where the Madras 
line meets it. Madras is 793 miles from Bombay. 

Three or four great cities claim our attention in this 
part of India, and they are cities as diverse in physical 
characteristics as in geographical surroundings. They 
have this in common : they are all hot. Between the 
cities of Bombay and Madras there is little to choose 
in the matter of temperature. The enervating climate 
of Bombay (which averages about 8o° F.) is perhaps a 
trifle more enervating than that of Madras, which includes 
a double monsoon. Bombay possesses a magnificent 
harbour set amidst such lovely surroundings as to rival 
even the charms of Trincomali in Ceylon, or of Sydney 
in Australia. It might almost be compared to that of 
Rio de Janeiro in South America. Bombay is the greatest 
trade centre in India, for it gathers together the ends 
of all the great railway systems except that of the north- 
west. It is the funnel through which commerce pours 
from India to the sea. 

Madras possesses no natural harbour whatsoever, and 
it is still a surprise that, before the construction of artificial 



works Madras should have risen to the position of a great 
coast port. But as we have already pointed out, there is 
no harbour in the east coast of India between Ceylon and 
Orissa. It cannot be said of Madras that it is the natural 

outlet of a trade basin ex- 
tending over an area that has 
any parallel to that of Bom- 
% % / flH kay ; but it does, on the other 

j Y k $$ M hand, tap a very large canal 

™ i /?■ MBa system which reaches both 

north and south. 

We have already referred 
to the marked architectural 
ugliness of Calcutta, an ugli- 
ness which is redeemed only 
by such charm as may be 
gained by viewing the town 
from a distance across the 
width of the central " mai- 
dan," when there may be 
detected a certain spirit of 
beauty which is never absent 
even from the flattest of river 
scenery. In Bombay, on the 
other hand, it is worth while 
to arrest a traveller's atten- 
tion in order to assure him 
that never elsewhere in India 
will he behold a city so typical 
of oriental life, and so teeming 
with oriental colour. Every 
corner of that city, even to 
the very slums, possesses the charm of variety. A dirty 
picturesqueness (which is almost Italian) pervades most of 
the back premises of Bombay ; Portuguese design is still 
apparent in the quaint mouldings and devices which adorn 
the houses in many of the streets, though the Portuguese 
have not been there since the early part of the eighteenth 
century, when they were ejected by the Mahrattas. 

Fig. 95. 


-The Port of Madras 


Every race and nation in the East is represented in 
the streets of Bombay ; every shade of colour and of 
complexion, from blackest negro to the li cafe au lait " 
of the Parsi woman, is there set off by an array of 
positive hues in dress such as would make a colour 
theorist shudder were it proposed as an abstract study. 
Combined, the effect is brilliant beyond measure. It is 
worth a journey to Bombay to see what a Parsi girl will 
dare in the matter of dress. A Bombay crowd is as 
brilliant, as lively, and as interesting as a Calcutta crowd 
is ugly and depressing. Nor is the variety and beauty 
of the city streets discounted by the public erections of 
Government. It would be hard to find a more impressive 
array of buildings than those which face Back Bay and 
stretch away to Malabar Hill. 

It is well that the eastward voyager should be intro- 
duced at starting to a city adorned with architecture which 
is worthy of the Government of an Indian Empire, for 
his impressions may possibly last. They have but little 
chance of being renewed as he travels farther eastward. 

As a concession to statistical geography it may be 
mentioned that Bombay is an island which includes an area 
of about 22 square miles. The suburbs of the city occupy 
about 4 square miles, and into this space a population of 
nearly one million is squeezed. Little wonder that cholera 
is endemic, and that plague threatens to imitate cholera. 
From the island of Bombay the lines of rail are carried by 
causeways over the narrow channel which separates the 
island from the larger island of Salsette, and from Salsette 
they pass to the mainland by other causeways. 

The points of interest which surround Bombay are 
innumerable, but for a catalogue of them the reader is 
referred to that excellent work — ''Murray's Handbook 
of India." 

Madras has nothing of the cosmopolitan air of 
Bombay. It is essentially Indian and Madrasi, and its 
charms (for it has many of them) lie chiefly in the local 
colouring which pervades it. There is no such wild and 
restless surf beating on any shelving beach as that of 

310 INDIA 

Madras ; no sea-breezes sighing amongst casuarina trees 
such as those which put daily life into the heat-worn 
European sojourners in Madras. It is not so very long 
since the days when the voyager was cast headlong from 
a masulah boat on to the shore. He can now step 
out of his ship on to a pier. Madras is notable for the 
" black town " (or native quarter), for its bright red 
streets, and for the broad avenues which connect the 

Fig. 96. — The Port of Bombay. 

city with] the European quarters ; for its a marina " 
or sea promenade, and, above all, for its early association 
with the apostle St. Thomas, who is supposed (on 
authority which Sir W. Hunter shows to be quite un- 
trustworthy) to have been martyred near the hill which 
now bears his name, about the year A.D. 68. 

About equi-distant from Bombay and Madras, but 
edging towards the east coast, is the great native state 
capital Haidarabad. In climate and in surroundings 
this city and the overgrown series of military cantonments 
which lie beyond it does not differ largely from Poona 


and Bangalore. They are all in the central highlands ; high 
enough (about 2000 feet to 3000 feet above sea) to pre- 
serve them from the fierce heat of the low-lying plains, but 
still in all the general characteristics of their environment 
belonging to the plains and not to the hills. Haidarabad 
is important for nothing except its position as the capital 
of the largest native state in India, and the headquarters 
of an overgrown native army of 40,000 men (recruited 
chiefly from the northern borderland and from Southern 
Arabia), which is considered necessary to preserve the 
dignity and authority of the Nizam. This army is a 
picturesque assemblage of half-disciplined troops, reviving 
the traditions of a bygone age, and it may be seen to 
best advantage on the 10th day of the feast of the 
Moharram (for Haidarabad is a Hindu state governed 
by Muhammadans), when the procession called the 
Langar takes place. The admixture of Afghan and 
Pathan ruffianism with gaily-clad Arab soldiery is 
interestingly suggestive of the nature of those armies 
of the past which used to strike terror into the heart 
of the agricultural population of India, and which would 
do so again instantly were our rule withdrawn. 

To keep check on this riotous force a brigade of 
British and native troops is cantoned at Sikandarabad, a 
few miles north of Haidarabad, and a special contingent 
(paid for out of the revenues of the Berars) of about 7000 
men, called the Haidarabad contingent, 1 is maintained with 
its headquarters at Bolarum hard by for the same purpose. 

Poona and Bangalore (which are now directly con- 
nected by the Southern Maratha railway) belong to the 
Sanatoria of India, which are elsewhere described. The 
connection is of geographical interest because it intro- 
duces us to the western districts of India, and touches 
the Portuguese settlement of Goa. 

Sixty-eight miles from Poona and about 187 from 
Bombay is the little station of Wathar on the Southern 
Maratha line, from whence a carriage drive may be 
taken to Mahableshwar. This is a favourite resort of 

1 Now part of the regular Indian army. 

3 i2 INDIA 

Bombay residents in the months of October and 
November, when the dying efforts of the south-west 
monsoon leave the washed-out plateau fit for habitation. 
It is not till the end of the rains that it is possible to 
live there. Passing Belgaum (which is of some historic 
account, and a military station) at 244 miles from Poona 
the line runs to a junction with the West of India 
Portuguese railway at the roadside station of Castle Rock, 
292 miles from Poona. Here we have an interesting 
item in the statistical list of Indian railways, and a curious 
little line on its own account. The West of India Portu- 
guese railway, which runs to a terminus at the coast at 
Marmagoa (the seaport of Goa), is 51 miles long, 
and runs through ten tunnels cut out of solid rock in 
the course of the first 12 miles. Some of these 
tunnels are of considerable length. Like the great 
G.I. P. it has to negotiate the Western Ghats, and like it 
also passes through magnificent scenery. But here the 
parallel ends, for the G.I. P. only ascends the Ghats to 
gather in connecting links with nearly all the great lines 
of India, whilst the Portuguese line begins on the top of 
the Ghats and ends at the sea. It is a matter of small 
surprise then that its working expenses are out of all 
proportion to its earnings, and that it should figure on 
the statistical list as the only line in India whose net 
earnings are a minus (and a considerable minus) quantity. 
There are two Goas, the old Goa, and the new. 
Old Goa derives its special interest from the fact that it 
is a fallen monument of European greatness, the disin- 
tegrating relic of a great Christian community. Founded 
in 1 5 10 by Albuquerque, it became the wealthiest city 
in all India by the middle of the sixteenth century. 
Here St. Francis Xavier achieved a success in Christian 
missionary enterprise such as has never been equalled 
since ; though it is but just to remember that Portuguese 
missionary methods are not our methods ; and here to- 
day in the midst of ruins so complete that "the stranger 
approaches it unawares, and drives into its midst un- 
conscious that he is traversing streets," there are still a 


group of magnificent churches in a state of perfect 
preservation. But old Goa has long since subsided as an 
inhabited city, and the Goanese " boys/' with names of 
Portuguese nobility, so well known as the best of all cooks 
and waiters throughout India, come from the new town 
of Panjim. They are mostly the descendants of Hindus 
converted by Jesuits. It is indeed impossible to imagine 
that they can claim descent from those heroes of old 
who navigated unknown seas and fought Arabs, Turks, 
and Indian Muhammadans wherever they met them. 

The network of Indian railways is gradually extending 
all over the continent, and it is already so complete in 
those parts that are commercially important that it would 
be impossible to enumerate the many different lines that 
have sprung into existence within the last quarter of a 
century. Vast as has been their commercial success, and 
important as is their influence in those civilising processes 
which are to weld the masses of the people of India into 
a homogeneous nationality by the application of an 
universal pressure born of self-interest, it should never 
be forgotten that Indian railways serve two purposes. 
The one purpose is civil and the other military, and the 
interests of the two are less easily separated than most 
Englishmen imagine. The same line of metal which 
serves to carry tons of wheat and cotton to our coast 
towns for export, serves also to move thousands of 
soldiers into a field of action which may be all-important 
to the interests of those who grow the wheat and the 
cotton ; and it is in this connection chiefly that the great 
discussion arose, which was not inaptly called the " battle 
of the gauges." 

If we look at the map we shall see at a glance that 
of the two great ports of India on the western coast, 
Bombay and Karachi, Bombay serves the commercial 
turn of India, and Karachi the military. It is incon- 
ceivable that so long as England dominates the sea, her 
power in India can ever be seriously threatened from any 
other quarter than the North-West. It is on the North- 
West frontier that in time of danger troops would cer- 

314 INDIA 

tainly be massed. Now Bombay would be largely 
hampered in assisting in this process by the break of 
gauge that occurs in Rajputana, involving delays in the 
transfer of men and material, not from one line to 
another, but from one set of conveyances to another. It 
was this danger — a danger which has been greatly lessened 
by the opening of the midland line connecting the G.I. P. 
with Delhi and Lahore — which influenced those who 
opposed the introduction of the narrow gauge con- 
struction. Troops from Bombay and Western India 
could now be moved to the extreme North-West without 
disjointing the internal traffic, and paralysing the com- 
mercial intercourse of Central India ; but the extreme 
North-West is not the only part of our frontier which is 
important strategically in the interests of India's security, 
possibly not even the most important part. For the 
Baluchistan section of the frontier, for the defence of 
Quetta, or for advance on Kandahar, Karachi is the 
only port of debarkation, and the North-Western line with 
the Quetta extensions the only line of communication. 
Great as are modern improvements in the harbour works 
at Karachi (into the development of which it is not 
necessary to enter), it must be remembered that its 
entrance channel is extremely narrow, that it is kept 
open with difficulty, and might be easily closed. And 
much the same might be said for the double line of 
approach to Quetta from the Indus — the line of the 
Mushkaf and that of the Harnai. They are both of them 
lines subject to periodic interruption from landslips or 
from floods, just as surely as are all other mountain 
lines whatsoever. Moreover, between Sibi, at the foot 
of the Baluch hills, and Sukkur on the Indus, there 
is but one single line (liable to periodic flooding from the 
Indus overflow) to feed both. On the maintenance of the 
Karachi harbour channel and this single line then, the 
possibility of rapid concentration of troops and material 
appears to depend, and this leads us to the last section 
of our study of the railway geography of India — the 
question of strategic extensions. 



Although we may call them strategic, we may remem- 
ber that the whole North-West system was strategic 
only in the first instance, but that it has developed 
a most surprising commercial value. It is probable that 
every line on our frontier that tended either to facilitate 
traffic, between two great centres of strategy and com- 

7r'aiVu/ays Ofien 

" far donstrt/ction - - 

Fig. 97. — North-Western Railway System. 

merce, or to push their way towards the great Central 
Asian marts, would inevitably follow what has become the 
rule of the North-West system {i.e. provide for strategy first 
and commerce afterwards) if the cost of construction was 
not absolutely prohibitive. Further into the financial 
aspect of the question this is no place to enter, but no sug- 
gestion here made as to possible extension is made without 
an amount of local knowledge which justifies us in main- 



taining the cost would probably not be prohibitive. The 
most obvious from the strategic point of view is the con- 
nection between Palanpur, or Decca, on the Rajputana 
line, with Sukkur on the Indus. This would at once 
bring all Western India into direct connection with Karachi 
and Baluchistan. But 300 miles of desert is not to be 
lightly negotiated. It was not easily spanned, even in 
Egypt ; and Southern Sind would present far more 

difficulties than Egypt. 

Still there is every pro- 
bability that this line 
will finally stand the 
test of construction, 
although it is possible 
that commercial views 
may indicate Haidara- 
bad in Sind, rather 
than Sukkur, as the 
first point in the Indus 
Valley to be brought 
into direct connection 
with Bombay. 

Equally obvious is 
the value of direct 
communication by rail 
between Lahore and 
Quetta, for which the 
long line of the Zhob 
Valley, debouching 
into the v Indus plain 
at the mouth of the 
Gomal River, gives op- 
portunity. Only in this way can we obtain a second line 
of approach to our defensive position in Baluchistan, or 
an alternative to the low level railway which crosses the 
Indus flats between Sukkur and Sibi. I have already 
alluded to the Kandahar-Herat extension as forming the 
shortest, simplest, and cheapest overland connection with 
Europe. Strategic reasons, however (if not commercial 

KtiJmys Open — 
*■ Tbr Construction 

Fig. 98. — Burma Railways. 


ones), will probably long stand in the way of the construc- 
tion of this obvious link in a great international system. 

Far more to our purpose it would be to extend west- 
wards from Quetta through the Helmund desert to Seistan, 
and thus secure an important and rapidly increasing trade 
which the construction of the new caravan route has 
opened up, whilst at the same time it might very easily 
prove to be almost imperative that we should have the 
power of concentrating troops in that direction. It will 
not be long before the question of the Nushki-Kharan 
extension will reach an acute stage, and will demand a 
definite answer. 

From Peshawur to Kabul there is a well-known and 
much-traversed road, down which there already pours 
a very considerable Indian trade ; nor can there be any 
reasonable doubt that this road will be replaced by a rail- 
way ere many decades have passed. Afghan conservatism, 
like that of China, cannot last for ever. This is the most 
important, both on commercial and strategic grounds, of 
any future railway project connected with India west of 

Much has been written, and much has been said, 
about the connection between Calcutta and Mandalay. 
The value of it needs no insistence ; but the difficulty 
of it is great, and the cost would be excessive. From 
the present northern terminus of the Burma state railway 
at Myitkyina (Michina), the valley of the Irawadi stretches 
northward for 150 miles in comparatively open plain. At 
the end of the 150 miles lies nothing but primeval forest 
and an unmapped country — but at this point it would not 
be much more than 50 miles from the head of the Assam 
system west of it, and separated from it by a wild hill 
country, through which, however, a possible connecting 
line has already been traced. The connection no doubt 
will ultimately become a fait accompli, either by the route 
indicated or by way of Silchar and Manipur. 

Railway statistics are to be found in extenso in the pages of the 
Statistical Reports relating to India, and in a more condensed form in 
the recent authoritative writings in such works as the Ency. Brit. Such 

3 i8 INDIA 

reports speak for themselves. The beginning of the twentieth century 
has seen considerable extensions of railway traffic within the borders of 
British India, but no very great developments in the borderland, where 
in some directions (between Mandalay and the Kunlon ferry, for instance) 
the recent period has been one rather of retrogression than otherwise. 
In the direction of Seistdn, the Quetta-Nushki extension should give a 
certain impetus to a slackening trade ; but it is not a short projection of 
the line from the Indian system here and there which will produce any 
radical effect in improving trade communications. A time will come (it 
may not be far off) when the necessity of an agreement with Russia will 
be acknowledged as the only means of opening up the overland avenues 
of approach to India from the west, and with a definite policy of peaceful 
intercommunication there will come such a vast impulse to railway traffic 
as could be achieved by no other projected line in the world. 



Far into the field of Indian economic geology it is of 
course impossible to enter. We can only skirt round the 
edge of it, and note the geographical distribution of a few 
of the most important of these mineral productions which 
from earliest history have made India famous, and Indian 
trade the desire of the nations. Recent examination of 
the gold-bearing fields of the peninsula only serve to 
prove that we know but little more about them than was 
known many centuries ago. Ancient mines have been 
driven through the upper strata of the soil in some parts 
of India to an extent which renders many acres of land 
analogous to a huge rabbit warren. Sometimes shafts 
are sunk straight and deep through beds of quartz, with 
sides so truly vertical that it is difficult to conceive what 
the class of instruments may have been with which they 
were constructed. 

Gold and precious stones were accumulated and 
hoarded in India from so early a time that it is probable 
that for very many centuries of the world's existence India 
was regarded as the only source of such treasures. We are 
now told that the ophir of Solomon was in Western India, 
chiefly for the reason that it is associated with ivory and 
apes and peacocks as articles of commerce. However 
that may be, it is in connection with precious metals and 
precious stones that ancient history and tradition chiefly 
concern themselves with the mineral wealth of India. 
The far more valuable economic products, such as coal 
and salt, created no demand in Old Testament days. The 
star of India's natural wealth has paled in later years 
before the magnificence of gold finds in Australia, in 

320 INDIA 

Africa, and in Alaska, against which India never has com- 
peted, and never could compete. 

There is little mineral exportation from India now. 
Such wealth as is acquired direct from the rocks of which 
her soil is composed, is valuable chiefly for purposes of 
internal development, and in this capacity its value can 
hardly be over-estimated. The peninsula of India is 
infinitely old, older than the Himalayas, though possibly 
not so old as Ceylon. It is interesting to reflect that 
there was a time when the Himalayas were not — when 
the crystalline rocks which form the axis and backbone 
of that mighty mass of mountains had not as yet pro- 
truded themselves above the general level of the world's 
surface, whilst they remained crushed beneath the strati- 
fied bed of an indefinite ocean. Since they were up- 
heaved, and the more recent strata above them has been 
washed down southwards towards the plains of the penin- 
sula carrying with them many of the mineral deposits of 
the original crystalline matrix, other vast variations in 
Indian geography have occurred which have all tended 
to distribute the wealth of the ancient beds into modern 
channels. There was probably a time when the Brah- 
maputra, instead of making its placid way to the Bay of 
Bengal, swept round the base of the Himalayas right across 
India, and possibly joined the Indus before it found the 
sea. This was in days when its banks were lined with a 
tropical jungle and gigantic mammals stalked through 
the land and left their bones in the Siwalik system of 
recent deposits. The delta land of Lower Bengal is all 
comparatively new. It covers an area of 55,000 square 
miles of alluvial deposit, 450 feet deep, and it is growing 
still. Successive deltas have formed south of the Khasia 
Hills, and have in turn been submerged beneath fresh 
deltas of alluvium washed down from the mountains. 

Throughout the alluvial formations of the Indo-Gan- 
getic basin we may search in vain for that mineral wealth 
which only lies embedded in ancient rock formations ; 
but some of it (gold, for instance, and precious stones) 
may be found (and is indeed chiefly found) in the detritus 


washed from the Himalayas; or from the old rock for- 
mations of Central India, and is scattered amongst recent 
deposits or in river beds. 

Geographically, the old geological formations of Central 
and Southern India are cut off from the elevated regions 
that lie to the north and west by the broad alluvial basin 
of the Indo-Gangetic plain, which is fringed on the far 
side by a series of recent deposits forming the foot-hills of 
the higher ranges of older formation. Amongst these the 
Siwaliks are the best known, and they are the most interest- 
ing because of the amount of palaeozoic remains which 
they contain ; but they are not in themselves the seat or 
origin of any great mineral wealth. The Siwaliks usually 
occur as minor ranges flanking main watersheds, parted 
by a broad valley from the lower spurs of the mountains 
which they overlie geologically, and in this form they are 
easily accessible and readily recognised. 

Looking southward from the Himalayan station of 
Mussoorie across the chequered blue and yellow expanse 
of the valley of Dehra (usually called Dehra Dun) the 
Siwaliks appear as a serrated ridge, thickly clad with pines, 
which may be traced distinctly as far as the eye can reach 
eastwards and westwards against the faint blue of the 
distant plains some thousand of feet below them. Very 
different indeed is the same formation when viewed from 
the summit of the Takht-i-Suliman Mountain on the trans- 
Indus frontier, nearly opposite the station of Dera Ismail 

Looking eastwards, here, towards the Indus, there is a 
wonderful geological panorama spread outward. There is 
no vegetation except such as scantily clothes the summit 
of the magnificent pile of coral limestone rocks on which 
one stands, just a scattered sprinkling of weird and wintry 
junipers clustering round the peak of Kaisargarh which 
towers over the surrounding cliffs at a height of 11,300 
feet above sea-level. On the terraces at the foot of the 
Kaisargarh peak, lying between it and the eastern ridge of 
the mountain (but parted therefrom by the terrific precipices 
of a gulley which splits its northern end and drops sheer to 



1 ftife - 

W$- If 




the bed of the Draband torrent 
5000 feet below), the chilghosa 
(edible pine) grows. The 
eastern and western ridges are 
connected at one point by the 
plain which is rifted by these 
gullies to the north and south, 
and which is besprinkled with 
huge masses of displaced lime- 
stone, but easily traversable. 
From the summit of the Kaisar- 
garh, looking beyond the 
scarred cliffs of coral limestone 
which form the eastern ridge 
of the mountain, and over a 
secondary range of distorted 
and twisted nummulitic rock, 
the long flat edges of a whole 
series of ridges, narrow backed 
and serrated, with scarped sides 
facing west and long flat spurs 
sloping east towards the Indus 
plains, tier after tier, and range 
upon range, bleak, barren, and 
desolate, form a il middle dis- 
tance," whose enchantment is 
of a most weird and fantastic 
character. Far away the faint 
blue meeting of earth and sky 
is marked by the dim black 
horizontal line of the Indus 
fringe of trees. Here and 
there the band of serrated 
ridges (of which the axis is 
nearly north and south, parallel 
to the axis of the great central 
upheaval of theTakht-i-Suliman 
Mountain) is broken across by 
the drainage from the Baluch 


and Afghan highlands which lie behind to the west, and 
the passage of these torrents through the successive gates 
of the hills can be very clearly traced as ridge after ridge 
is split asunder to let the waters pass. Nearest of these 
frontier ridges, beyond the nummulitic rocks, are those of 
eocene formation, and farthest, just breaking the expanse 
of the plains, are the u recent " Siwaliks. Here, on the 
frontier, they are represented by hard conglomerates, and 
a stiff mixture of clay and rounded boulders which is very 
difficult to deal with in matters requiring engineering skill. 
In general terms this represents the character of the western 
frontier geological conditions, and consequently nothing is 
to be looked for on the frontier which might be of economic 
value such as those minerals possess which, emanating 
originally from crystalline rocks, are washed down in 
river-beds or found in recent accumulations of detritus. 

Neither is coal to be found in paying quantities on 
our frontier, although coal in India is found associated 
with far more recent deposits than is generally the case 
in England. With the exception of the coal which is 
worked on the Sind frontier, about Sharigh and Khost 
(stations on the Sind-Peshin railway), and which is locally 
useful for consumption in Quetta after passing through a 
process of compression, but which has practically no 
market beyond that which is afforded by the local railways 
and commissariat, there is no mineral trade on our frontier 
which is worth investigation. Petroleum exists on the 
Harnai line of the Sind-Peshin railway, but has proved 
to be deficient in quantity, and is, I believe, no longer 
regarded as a profitable field for investment. 

A general inquiry into all the mineral resources of 
India is far beyond the scope of this work, but the follow- 
ing notes on the geographical distribution of a few of 
them may be usefully included as an illustration of the 
gradual process of economic development which has 
attended our rule in the country. Whatever is dug out 
of the bowels of the earth, or is found deposited on its 
surface, in India, may be said to exist for purposes of 
internal consumption, with the notable exception of its 

324 INDIA 

precious stones, and possibly of saltpetre. India does not 
supply the world with coal, or iron, or gold, or silver. 
The value of her imported metals largely exceeds her 
exports, and even in the matter of treasure only about 
half as much gold, and about one-third as much silver 
found its way out of India, as is represented in the list of 
imports of 1896-97. Owing, no doubt, to Government 
legislation the import of silver has largely decreased 
during the last few years, and there have been years 
(1892-93 and 1894-95) when the export of gold was 
four or five times the value of the imports. 

Of all developments of mineral resources that which 
has occurred in coal is perhaps the most striking and the 
most satisfactory. So great has been the late growth of 
the Indian coal traffic as to create a demand for ex- 
tension of existing means of railway conveyance on the 
East Indian line. Last year (1897) all records were 
surpassed ; the total increase in the value of the traffic on 
that one line being upwards of one million (expressed in 
the conventional ten rupees unit), and the increase in 
earnings being 21 per cent. This is sufficient to assure 
us that we may look to Indian coalfields in confidence 
that they will eventually meet the full demands of India 
without English importations. The output of Indian 
coals last year reached four million tons, and the percentage 
in consumption of Indian coal has as largely increased as 
that of English coal has diminished. The quality of 
Indian coal varies very greatly, the best being that 
obtained from the Karhabari colliery in Bengal, and this 
coal is adopted to give the standard of comparison for 
other varieties. 

The geological age of the carboniferous strata in 
India is very much younger than that of English 
measures ; the best coal measures being found between 
the permian and lower Jurassic formations within the area 
of the peninsula ; but coal occurs in younger deposits 
beyond peninsular limits, i.e. in Sind, Afghanistan, Assam, 
and Burma. Although the coal usually found in the 
newer deposits does not as a rule exist in quantities 






sufficient to be of any economic value, exceptions to the 
rule are to be found, notably in Assam and Burma. 

The chief coal bearing areas of India are as 
follows : — 

1. The basin of the Godavari River. 

2. The basin of the Son River. 

3. Orissa. 

4. Assam. 

5. The basin of the Narbada River. 

Thus it will appear that the whole coal bearing 
(which may be 
at about 
30,000 square miles) 
lies more or less in 
the central districts of 
the peninsula, and 
chiefly in the Central 
Provinces. Through- 
out this extent of pos- 
sible field for coal 
mining there are 
scattered about a 
dozen collieries, a 
number which may be 

largely increased when railway communication is further 
developed. Although the provinces of Madras have been 
searched diligently, and there have arisen many reports 
of coal discoveries, and much correspondence has re- 
sulted therefrom, the net result may be expressed as 
correspondence only. There are no important workable 
seams in Madras. In Haidarabad one colliery (the 
Singareni) has risen to importance. This is situated in 
the Godavari basin to the east of Haidarabad, and is 
associated with the same group of rocks (Kamthis, 
Talchirs, &c.) as predominate in connection with all the 
coalfields in the peninsular area. The Singareni mines 
produce about 1000 tons per diem. The Orissa province 

Fig. 100. — Coal Distribution. 

326 INDIA 

{i.e. the basin of the Mahanadi) contains a comparatively 
large area, of inferior coal measures, none of which are 
profitably worked at present. 

The largest coalfields of India exist in Bengal, and 
the most important colliery is that of Karhabari, in the 
Hazaribagh district, about 200 miles from Calcutta. 
This, with the Ranigange mines (120 miles from Calcutta), 
furnishes the East Indian railway with all its coal. The 
Karhabari and Serampur collieries between them put 
out 450,000 tons of coal in 1897. Ranigange is pro- 
bably the largest and most important of all coal areas 
in India, covering 500 square miles. Coal has been 
worked here for more than a century. It constitutes the 
" Black Country " of India, and the supply seems to be 
practically inexhaustible. 

The Central Provinces possess two important collieries 
in Warora (near Chanda), south of Nagpur in the Godavari 
basin, and Mohpani, which is 95 miles south-west of Jabal- 
pur, in the Narbada basin. The latter is a comparatively 
small field which, in 1879, turned out only 12,400 tons. 
It has now risen to 20,000 tons, but the mine is chiefly 
interesting from the nature of the galleries, which open 
on to the face of a cliff. The Warora mine put out 
111,600 tons last year. The coal mines of the Salt 
range, in the Punjab, which are worked from an alti- 
tude of nearly 2000 feet above sea-level, are not pro- 
ductive of a very good class of coal, but the 90,000 tons 
of coal which they can produce per annum are exceed- 
ingly valuable to the N.-W. Railway. 

The Umaria colliery, which, like the Warora, is worked 
by Government, is a valuable resource for the Indian Midland 
and the Great Indian Peninsula railways. Its output is 
124,000. In Assam there are five or six coalfields in the 
valley of the Brahmaputra. The coal differs from that of 
the peninsula in possessing a homogeneous structure, and 
is of distinctly superior quality. The Tikak and Ledo 
mines put out 171,000 tons last year, a large contribution 
to the total value of the coal industry to India. In Burma 
there are coal measures of variable quality in nearly every 


district of the province. For more than fifty years atten- 
tion has been bestowed on the seams that are found in 
Arakan, Tenasserim, Pegu, and Upper Burma, but without 
any great profit to explorers. A colliery has been esta- 
blished at Letkonbin (or Lek-ope-bin) in Upper Burma 
which is within 5 miles of the Irawadi, and which will 
certainly prove to be of commercial value ; but the flood- 
ing of the mines reduced the output from 23,000 tons 
in 1896 to 10,000 last year. New workings have now 
been commenced, and a superior quality of coal is being 

But Burma (especially Upper Burma) must be 
regarded at present as in the initial stages of develop- 
ment so far as coal possibilities are concerned, and 
the value of workable seams which will undoubtedly 
be found in future must largely depend on facilities of 
transport and railway extension. 

It is curious that in the matter of salt, as of coal-supply, 
India, although possessed of large resources, is still de- 
pendent to a certain extent on importation. Cheshire 
salt still supplies the local markets in Bengal, although 
the production of salt by the evaporation of sea water 
is largely carried on along the coast districts of Eastern 
India. Of all the mineral productions of India that of 
salt is of greatest economic importance. The revenue 
derived from salt amounts to nearly eight millions per 
annum, and the tax imposed upon salt is the only tax 
which directly affects the masses of the people of India. 
Special legislation in order to equalise this tax, and to 
insure a fair distribution of it throughout the length and 
breadth of British dominions, has been constantly neces- 
sary. There was a time (Lord Lytton's time) when a 
huge artificial barrier stretched through India and offered 
a stout physical obstacle to trade and traffic of all sorts 
in the interest of the salt duties. This, happily, has been 
removed, and no artificial salt barriers of any great extent 
now exist ; but changes are constantly necessary in the 
application of Government monopolies to meet the 
constant changes in the sources of supply, and the salt 



tax, equitable and necessary though it may be, will always 
be a fruitful theme for grievance-mongers anxious to 
saddle Government with the responsibility of local dis- 
turbances. The tax now amounts to Rs.2j per maund 
for India ; i.e about one-halfpenny per pound, and to 
one rupee for Burma — less than a farthing per pound. At 
these rates its value to Indian revenues is maintained at 
from seven million to eight million per annum, the con- 
sumption apparently varying but little from year to year. 
There are three distinct sources of salt-supply in 
India — i.e. sea water evaporation, salt lakes, and salt 

mines. Along the coast 
A-v ma,n areas of Madras salt is obtained 

from the sea by evapo- 
ration in shallow pans, 
which are prepared on 
the coast districts for this 
purpose as soon as the 
rainy season is over. 
These pans are about two- 
thirds of an acre in extent, 
and require nearly a month 
of preparation by the in- 
troduction of a small 
amount of sea water and 
a constant succession of 
" puddling," or treading down processes, until the floor is 
ready to receive the highly condensed brine which is finally 
run in for evaporation. Salt is manufactured in a similar 
way near Karachi, and on the Orissa sea border, but not 
generally on the western coast of India. It is a curious fact 
that there is a large trade in salted fish from the coast of 
Makran to the Malabar coast provinces, where one would 
naturally suppose that salt fish would be a drug in the 
market, but where the process of salting is expensive. 

In Rajputana there exists a series of salt lakes, of 
which that of Sambhar, on the borders of the native 
states of Jaipur and Jodhpur, is the largest and most 
important. The lake is about 20 miles long and 4 to 5 

Fig. ioi. 


broad. It fills a depression in the desert, protected partly 
by outlying hills of the Aravalli system and partly by 
high sand ridges, or dunes, from being filled up by wind- 
blown sand, and it is not more than a few feet deep in 
its deepest part. No one knows what the origin of the 
saline deposit in this or other Rajputana lakes may be. 
There may be underlying beds of salt, or (and this 
hypothesis is favoured by geologists) there may be 
nothing more than those saline principles which exist 
in all lakes which have no outlet except by evaporation. 
Beyond India, in Afghanistan and Persia, there are huge 
depressions in the general level of the plains, which are 
almost invariably associated with widespread stretches of 
sandy soil, and which contain thick saline deposits when- 
ever the heat of the sun's rays has dispersed the water 
in which they were dissolved. These salt flats appear 
white and shimmery in the heat haze, stretching over 
miles of country, and are called " kavirs " in Persia, " kaps " 
in Makran, and "hamuns " in Baluchistan. But the salt of 
these wastes is not usually the salt of commerce. There 
is, however, one such depression to the north of Herat 
(north-west of Panjdeh), which is an apparently inex- 
haustible source of commercial salt to the Turkoman and 
Afghan districts adjoining. It should be noted, however, 
that even running water is usually brackish throughout 
these districts. 

In India, when land becomes water-logged from ex- 
cessive irrigation or other causes, a saline efflorescence 
(called Reh) frequently appears on the surface, and is 
absolutely destructive to all vegetation, although the irri- 
gating water is reckoned as " sweet." The Rajputana 
lake supply is sweet water, but the saline sediment is 
pure salt, which crystallises on the surface of the black 
lake mud to a thickness of 8 or 10 inches in the middle 
of the lake. It is quite possible to cross the lake on the 
surface of the salt in exceptional seasons. Magnificent 
pink cubes of salt, of ij inch sides, are obtainable from 
the lake centre ; but the salt taken out for purposes of 
trade is usually taken from near the edges, where the pink 

330 INDIA 

colour is less pronounced, this colour (which is caused by 
a microscopic fungus growth) being reckoned an impurity. 
The glistening white lake shores surrounding the central, 
rosy-hued expanse of crystal salt, streaked here and there 
with an outcrop of black slime, and backed by the rough- 
edged and sombre-hued Aravalli ridges, is a striking spec- 
tacle ; especially when enlivened by flights of flamingoes, 
whose pink and white plumage barred with black on the 
wings seems a special provision of Nature for purposes of 
adaptation to local surroundings. 

The most important of all sources of Indian salt, how- 
ever, is found in the north country — in the Salt ranges of 
the Punjab and Kohat. Here there is no doubt about its 
geological age. The rock-salt of Kohat, which is literally 
piled up in mountains and is quarried as if it were stone, 
is at the base of all geological sections whatsover, no older 
rocks being seen. It is placed in the eocene period. 

Bahadur Khel is an uninteresting halting-place near a 
small fort and straggling village, on the road between 
Kohat and Bannu. After passing Bahadur Khel south- 
ward the wayfarer at once plunges into the intricacies of 
the Salt range which intervenes between it and Latammar, 
the next halting-place beyond the range. Dry, barren 
hills, with a very scanty and ill-grown vegetation, surround 
him, but the clays and marls which overlie the salt vary 
infinitely in colour from pale grey to bright orange, and 
lend a weird sort of charm to scenery, which is accen- 
tuated by the fantastic shapes of the hills. The 
principal quarries have been worked from time imme- 
morial, that near Bahadur Khel having been known 
twelve centuries ago. The chief outcrop lies rather to 
the east of the pass, and from it the salt is detached in 
slabs by pickaxe and wedge. It is roughly chipped into 
squares about 1 2 inches by 4 thick, and in this shape 
transported on camels all over the trans-Indus northern 
borderland. Strings of camels carrying salt may be met 
with on the eastern Afghanistan roads. It is carried 
across the Safed Koh Mountains by the Zakka Khel 
Afridis into the Jalalabad Valley. It is taken into Swat 


over the Malakand, and some of it finds its way westward 
to Kandahar. 

The Salt range of the Punjab, which extends across 
the Indus at Kalabagh, is another inexhaustible source of 
salt-supply. It is the " oldest known deposit of salt in the 
world. As it underlies beds containing silurian fossils, it 
belongs to a period not younger than Silurian ; " so that 
it is older than the Kohat salt. The salt is here worked 
from mines which are relics of Sikh industry in earlier 
years, when the original workings were pushed for- 
ward with a reckless disregard for safety. The Punjab 
Salt range mines have been so repeatedly described that 
no further account of them is necessary here ; but the 
enormous advantage of the systematic mining introduced 
under English supervision over the erratic methods adopted 
by the Sikh workmen of past days is well illustrated by 
what remains of the salt mines elsewhere. 

In Kishm (an island on the Persian coast) the interior 
of a mountain side has literally been scooped out, until 
the unsupported upper layers forming the roof of the 
mine crashed inwards and stopped further working. The 
result is very curious. The interior of the mine is a large 
dome-shaped cavity about as large as St. Paul's, in the 
centre of which the debris from the roof is piled in a 
ragged heap. The light of the sky breaks in where the 
mountain side has fallen through at the apex of the roof, 
and lights up the striated bands of salt, coloured in tints 
of delicate salmon, yellow, and green, or deep maroon 
(differing in this from the colouring of the Kohat salt, 
which occurs in layers of black and deep rose colour), 
with a weird and chequered lustre. The central pile of 
debris is capped by a gigantic pillar of salt, and all around 
are twisted columns, pendant from the roof or growing 
from the floor, sometimes continuous, sometimes broken. 
These are the stalactites and stalagmites formed by 
deliquescent salt. Behind them, arranged, as it were, 
round the base of the walls supporting the dome, are side 
chapels hidden behind veils of the most delicate salt 
tracery that ever imitated Brussels lace ; and leading out- 

332 INDIA 

wards from the dome under the foot of the hill till it 
opens on to the sea-shore, is a gallery so full of the quaint 
devices which salt can assume that it is difficult to make 
one's way along — impossible, indeed, without the aid of 
artificial light. So much beauty of natural design com- 
pressed and multiplied in so narrow a space I have never 
seen elsewhere, excepting, perhaps, in the tracings made by 
frost upon glass in the early mornings of a hard winter. 
The beauty of it is past description, but the economic result 
of unscientific mining is only too obvious. The mine is 
unworkable, and has been abandoned for years. It is 
reported to be the abode of mountain spirits, and indeed 
it requires no great effort of imagination to picture them 
amidst such surroundings. The salt mines of the Punjab 
are beautiful, but all picturesque illusions vanish before 
clean-cut galleries and tramways and scientific engineering. 

Iron is an economic product of the soil that cannot 
be overlooked, although it is no longer one of any great 
value, regarded as a contribution to the wealth of India. 
Local iron industry has long been superseded by iron 
importations, nor is it likely that it will ever revive to 
any great extent ; yet there was a time when it found em- 
ployment for thousands of workmen, and less than two 
centuries have passed since iron was welded and forged 
in a fashion quite unknown to the western world, and 
which is hardly surpassed even in the largest foundries of 
to-day. There is a mass of wrought iron weighing six 
tons or more which stands as a monument to the capacity 
of India's workers in iron near the Kutb at Delhi — a solid 
iron pillar measuring 23 feet 8 inches in length, with an 
average diameter of more than 14 inches above its base, 
expanding to 2 feet 4 inches below. To this day it is a 
puzzle to those scientists who endeavour to account for its 
production. Scattered through India there are to be found 
enormous " tops," or cannon, relics of the forgotten skill 
of the past races of Indian iron-workers. 

Iron ore is distributed through India in great abun- 
dance, indeed Central and Southern India may be said 
to be red with it. Near Salem, in Madras, " whole hills 


and ranges " seem to be formed of the purest variety of 
haematite, and throughout India, wherever metamorphic 
rocks prevail, there are to be found beds and veins of 

Iron ore exists in the Ranigange coalfields, where it is 
associated with certain beds of shale, and there it is 
reckoned to be in fuller development than anywhere else 
in India. The beds of laterite, which are such a con- 
spicuous feature in most parts of the Central Provinces, is 
very rich in iron ore, which has been largely worked by 
native smelters from time immemorial ; but the primitive 
methods of working which remained undeveloped in India 
throughout the mediaeval ages no longer suffice for its 
production at a cost which can compete with English 
importations, although it is a mistake to suppose that the 
ancient systems of working w r ere entirely devoid of science, 
or guided by mere rule of thumb. Few people are aware 
that the once world-famous Damascus blades were fash- 
ioned from iron brought from a remote Indian village 
which once figured in the world as the source of the 
finest steel in existence, and which has since passed into 

That distinguished Indian geologist and writer, Mr. V. 
Ball, attributes much of the decadence of Indian iron- 
working to the gradually increasing want of fuel, a want 
which is not likely to diminish, and he considers that 
Indian-made iron can never again compete successfully 
with European production, nor does he hold out any 
hope in the future of a revival of the industry under 
European supervision. '* The best that could be hoped 
for by any one firm having constantly the same materials 
to deal with, would be to be able to turn out regularly a 
particular quantity which would steadily reach a recog- 
nised standard, so that consumers of iron in India would 
probably still find it necessary to order from Europe iron 
having particular qualities for special purposes, to which 
the Indian iron was not applicable. That a single factory 
could ever supply all the different qualities of iron required 
in any one province in India is not to be expected. . . 



Supposing, on the other hand, that iron factories were 
established in the different provinces of India, their imme- 
diate effect would probably be to lower the price of 
English iron, since India is one of England's largest 
customers, and thus the margin of profit would probably 
be swept away." x This was written more than twenty 
years ago, but no recent developments have occurred to 
modify the opinion thus expressed. What the effect of 
State influence might have been had Government started 
the manufacture of iron on a large scale when railways 
were first introduced it is impossible to say. The conflict- 
ing interests involved would have presented a formidable 
array of difficulties. 

What is true of iron is also true of most of the other 
mineral industries of India. With the exception of salt- 
petre, which is easily manufactured in the Indian climate, 
and has maintained its position as an article of export, 
representing a value of half a million or more in the 
export trade, the greatness of India's national wealth in 
mineral products is but a dream of the past. Before the 
days of scientific training in the arts of mineral develop- 
ment, whilst men were yet gathering in what lay on the 
surface ready to their hands, or, at most, but grubbing 
a few yards underground with insufficient tools and no 
knowledge of the natural causes which led to the effects 
which interested them, India was doubtless far ahead of 
her world's geographical contemporaries in the amassing 
of such barbaric wealth as was represented by lavish 
display of ornament. Gold, silver, precious stones — these 
were reckoned the staple of a country's wealth and great- 
ness long ere architectural art and the work of the loom 
exercised men's brains as well as their bodies ; and it is 
consequently no matter of wonder that in a country 
where climate and soil involved but little labour in the 
production of food and clothing, we should find that from 
the very earliest ages the surface of India has been riddled 
with the superficial scratchings and delvings of gangs of 
slaves, who were made to search for the precious metals 

1 " Geology of India," part iii. p. 344. 


at a cost which was practically nothing to the land- 

That wealth which first made India the tl desire of 
men's eyes " long before the days of Soliman ; which has 
been the curse of the country from the attraction it 
offered to countless hordes of warlike savages who have 
swarmed eastwards and southwards from high Asia ; and 
finally has assured to the civilised nations of mediaeval 
Europe commercial pre-eminence so long as Indian trade 
was in their hands, was distributed chiefly in Indian soil. 
And, although much of it has disappeared from the sur- 
face of that soil, there is no reason to suppose that its 
sources have been seriously impaired. The peninsula of 
India is a vastly old, but not an exhausted, country, and we 
must look to other reasons than the gradual emptying out 
of her natural treasuries to account for her loss of prestige 
in that particular phase of economic development which is 
associated with production of precious metals and minerals. 

One great reason is the enhanced cost of labour now 
that all men are free, and the undoubted necessity for 
digging deeper and employing more expensive mining 
agencies in order to secure quick returns. Native chiefs 
of ancient times were content with the accumulation of 
the small gatherings that were effected by thousands of 
men searching over the surface of large areas. The 
English shareholder wants a definite percentage on the 
cost of tapping the original sources of supply — by which 
process alone can sufficient quantity be realised to render 
the enterprise a paying one. 

But the chief reason, no doubt, is the fact that other 
and newer countries have developed a wealth of resources 
such as India never possessed, and the most that India 
can now claim is the modest (and somewhat doubtful) 
position of being able to " pay her way." There is doubt- 
less still a vast and almost immeasurable store of wealth 
hoarded above ground in that country which at present 
lies idle and takes no place in any scheme of commercial 
economy. India is still enormously wealthy, but her wealth 
is that of the miser. 

33 6 


In almost any part of India, excepting the north- 
west frontier, where (as already explained) there are no 
channels of communication leading up to crystalline rocks 
and deposits from which gold may be derived, the gold 
industry still continues on the old, old lines of prehistoric 
days. In the Godavari jungles I have watched a patient 
family of gold-washers (aboriginal Gonds) sitting con- 
tentedly by the banks of a small local stream, scraping 
up the sand into their shallow wooden pans, and per- 
forming the apparently simple process of swishing the 
water round with a circular motion till all the light 

particles had disap- 
peared, and nothing 
but a sediment of 
black u iron sand " 
remained. No mer- 
curial process was 
resorted to in order 
to capture the infini- 
tesimally small par- 
ticles of gold which 
existed in the sedi- 
ment. The sand was 
examined, and if the 
examination proved 
satisfactory washing was resumed, until finally a small 
(ridiculously small) pinch of free gold particles remained. 
The net result of the day's " take " when the family of 
four had finished their work might, when spread out very 
thin, have covered a four anna bit ; and it was valued 
(probably over valued) at eight annas, or, say, one shilling. 
But this was enough, and no persuasion would have in- 
duced these native vagabonds to work longer than was 
necessary to secure this amount of return. They wanted 
little. Their clothes were few and simple (in fact, two 
of the four individuals possessed none), and their food 
was probably found in the jungle. A shilling a day 
would find all the rest of their requirements, and to work 
when work was unnecessary was not in their creed. 

Fig. 102. 


On the banks of the Indus, where it still courses 
through the mountains and washes the scanty cultiva- 
tion of various Himalayan valleys, I have seen the same 
process repeated, with much about the same result ; and 
indeed, wherever a river runs down from a central source 
of the oldest geological formations, there may almost 
certainly be found searchers after gold working on primi- 
tive methods. It is said that every river in the Punjab 
(except the Ravi) contains gold, and certainly there are 
few streams that find their sources in the oldest forma- 
tions of the Central Provinces in the basins of the 
Mahanadi and the Godavari that are not similarly blessed. 
But the gold-bearing sands of rivers do not necessarily 
obtain gold from any one abundant source. Gold is 
disseminated through a vast mass of geological material, 
apart from quartz reefs, which occasionally do not con- 
tain gold at all. So that the geographical area over which 
gold may be found in India is very widespread, and the 
sources of it in different districts very various. All along 
the foot of the northern hills of India, from Afghanistan 
to Assam, gold is found in tertiary deposits ; but it is all 
detrital ; it has been washed there from crystalline meta- 
morphic sources far away in the Himalayas. In Ladak 
quartz reefs occurring in the carboniferous age are the 
source of supply ; about Kandahar auriferous reefs belong 
to the cretaceous deposits. 

Within the peninsular area, the Madras province is 
probably the richest in gold. The Wynaad gold mines, 
which have been opened up in the rolling plateau which 
lies between the Malabar coast districts and the Nilgiris, 
are on the site of certain ancient mines which were found 
in great abundance — mines which have been sunk with 
very considerable engineering skill, and which must have 
been worked for centuries. Reports on the gold wealth 
of the Wynaad have been intermittently submitted to 
Government ever since the beginning of this century, and 
so late as 1880 one great authority reported that the reefs 
were more numerous, richer and wider there than in any 
similar area in Australia. But the gold is found in 


338 INDIA 

exceptionally hard material — granite and gneiss — traversed 
by quartz reefs, and in spite of estimates based on the 
results of unusually successful prospecting, mines have 
proved unproductive owing to the cost of plant and work- 
ing. Gold mines have been started by half-a-dozen com- 
panies in Mysore, where the rocks all belong to crystalline 
or metamorphic groups interlaced by quartz reefs, and 
the Kolar mines have been successful — perhaps the most 
successful — of all. Rocks of the Kamthi age in the 
Gondwana system appear to be exceptionally auriferous. 
To them may be traced the source of the gold washings 
in the Godavari affluents of Haidarabad, where again 
gold mining has largely developed lately, and where (as 
in Kolar) ancient workings carried to a considerable depth 
have exhausted all the most profitable sources of supply. 
The Kolar mines have quite recently far exceeded the 
original expectations of their founders. In the year 1899 
the production of gold in this part of India amounted to 
no less than 447,397 ounces, the production in Burma, 
Madras, and the Nizam's territory (Haidarabad) bringing 
up the total to 457,020 ounces, the value of which may 
be taken to represent about -£1,828,000. 

In Chutia Nagpur and the eastern districts of the 
Central Provinces, all more or less on the line of the 
Bengal-Nagpur railway, is situated a large group of gold 
fields. In the districts of Manbhum and Singbhum, 
north of the Mahanadi basin ; and in Gangpur, Jushpur, 
and Udaipur, within the limits of that basin, as well as at 
Sambulpur, which is on the Mahanadi, gold industry 
flourishes. The gold of these districts occurs in schists, 
slates, and quartzites of sub-metamorphic series. The 
gold washings of the lb and the Mahanadi are still carried 
on by the aboriginal Gond people, with the assistance of 
the primitive pan and scraper, just as they may have been 
twenty centuries ago. 

In Upper Assam the gold of the Dihong River has long 
been famous. It is said that all the rivers in these 
districts of Assam contain gold. It was estimated that 
£\ 0,000 represented the value of the revenue derived 


from the sonwals or gold washers of Assam before we 
took possession. The ultimate source is probably to be 
found in crystalline rocks which occur on the upper 
reaches of the Brahmaputra. The Brahmaputra, as we 
know, rises in Tibet, a country which has been known 
for ages to possess extensive gold fields, about which at 
present we have only the record of travellers who have 
not been scientific prospectors. The immediate sources 
of gold in the Brahmaputra of Assam are tertiary deposits 
and the alluvial beds of rivers. 

In Burma gold is found in the sands of the Irawadi at 
Bhamo, and in the Chindwin River, where it is collected in 
a primitive fashion by pegging out the skins of animals in 
the stream. The minute gold particles carried down by 
the current adhere to the hair. When the skin is dried, 
the gold is shaken out of it and collected. This is a 
system entirely suited to the indolent character of the Indo- 
Chinese races. An automatic process of gold accumulation, 
involving no labour, would appeal so strongly to their idio- 
syncrasies that it is surprising that they should adopt any 
other process. They do, however, work for gold as 
well. Much gold is used in Burma in temple decorations, 
but most of it is imported. 

The ancient gold industry of Tenasserim has lately 
been revived, and at the head of the Tavay River, where 
gold is found associated with the tin, washing on the 
Portuguese system has been introduced, and mines are 
being opened which promise fairly well. 

Some indication of the economic value of the gold 
industry in India may perhaps be gathered from the fact 
that the exportation of gold in 1897 amounted in value to 
a little over two millions sterling. In 1896 it was nearly 
two million and a half, and in 1895 (the record year) it 
was no less than ^6,700,000. 

Something must be added about the diamonds and 
rubies of India and Burma which have assisted to enhance 
the fame of eastern wealth through past ages, though per- 
haps they do not promise in future to add much further 
lustre to this " brightest jewel of England's crown." 

34 o INDIA 

It may be interesting to know that the mines of 
Golconda never existed. There is a fort near Haidarabad 
called Kala Kanda, and here, in early days, stood a great 
central mart or market for diamonds, which were found 
afar off. The Kistna and Godavari basins were the real 
Golconda in ancient times, and indeed they are so still. 
There are three great diamond tracts in India, i.e. the 
Kistna-Godavari tract, the area between the Godavari and 
Mahanadi, and Pannah, in Bundelkand. In the first two 
tracts diamonds are found in what are geologically 
known as the lower Vindhya beds ; in Panna they occur 
in a conglomerate, which is analogous to the diamondi- 
ferous rocks of South Africa. Diamonds are found in 
small quantities elsewhere in the Madras provinces, but 
the industry is entirely in the hands of natives, who 
declare that British ascendency in India is displeasing to 
the presiding deity of the mines (their geological goddess 
Lakshuri) and account in this way for the decline of the 
trade. The mines at Panna seem to be the most syste- 
matically worked. An interesting account of them occurs 
in vol. iii. of the "Geological Manual for India." Panna 
is situated amongst the hills of Bundelkand, not more 
than 1 80 miles to the south-west of Allahabad. The 
mines are scattered over a large area of country, and the 
diamonds obtained therefrom, though small in size, are of 
good quality. The diggings near Panna itself do not 
cover more than 20 acres. Irregular pits are exca- 
vated through the overlying strata, often to a depth of 
30 feet, in order to reach the diamond conglomerate. 
In this pit the miners work almost naked and knee-deep 
in water. The stuff excavated is hauled up by hand in 
small buckets, then placed on stone slabs and examined. 
Both the examiners and the miners work under a guard. 
Various attempts have been made by Europeans to 
compete with the natives in the diamond fields of India, 
but never with success unless associated with gold mining. 
Native labour as utilised by native chiefs is a cheap com- 
modity, and no European could hope to work on the 
financial principles which govern native mining. Then 


again there must always be large opportunities for dia- 
mond stealing, and it is impossible to rival native methods 
for preventing this constant source of loss. Also the 
unhealthiness of the districts in which diamonds are 
chiefly found is in itself fatal to much European enter- 
prise. There is no part of India (possibly no tract in the 
world) more fever-ridden and unwholesome than the 
Godavari basin. 

Yet it cannot be supposed either that the original 
sources are exhausted, or that the field for enterprise 
has greatly narrowed. There must be vast areas un- 
tapped as yet lying beneath the Vindhyan rocks of 
the Central Province. The most celebrated diamond of 
India is the Koh-i-Nur, now a British possession. This 
was apparently (for there are many histories attached to 
it, and they do not by any means agree) found on the 
Kistna River at Kolar, to the north-west of Masulipatam, 
and is probably identical with the Great Moghul diamond 
which was shown to Tavernier by the Emperor Aurang- 
zebe in 1665. He describes the Kollur (or Kolar) mine 
as being about 100 years old, and records that 60,000 
people were then employed in the diggings. Mining in 
this district (which was the true Golconda of mediaeval 
history) has lately been revived in connection with gold 

Rubies and occasional sapphires are the outcome of 
the well-known, and perhaps over-rated, ruby mines of 
Mogok, in Upper Burma, whilst sapphires and occasional 
rubies are found in Ceylon. Within the area of penin- 
sular India (especially towards the south) rubies are not 
unknown, but they are not systematically collected. The 
mines of Mogok are not the only mines in Upper Burma, 
although they are the chief. There are mines also about 
16 miles from Mandalay, in the Sagyin Hills, where the 
red clay-covered limestone rocks are split and fissured 
with cavities containing the detritus out of which rubies, 
sapphires, and amethysts are washed. But the rubies are 
of inferior quality ; all the best are found at Mogok. 
These mines are about 70 miles north of Mandalay, 

342 INDIA 

concentrated in a small area at the foot of the Shwe 
Doung or Golden Mount, which is a spur of the Central 
Burmese chain east of the Irawadi. The mines were 
captured in 1886, after a stout defence on the part, not 
of the miners, but of the traders and robbers who had 
lived by illicit traffic in rubies. These people collected the 
best fighting men of the Shans within reach to dispute 

The Mogok mines are from 4000 to 5000 feet above 
sea-level, and are flanked on the north by the rolling hills 
of the Shan plateau — hills which rise to 6000 feet in eleva- 
tion, and are covered with forests of oak, chestnut, and 
fir, decorated with numberless varieties of rare orchids. 
The northern route to the mines must be a dream of 
beauty. The valleys of the mines themselves are lovely, 
surrounded with hills of granite, gneiss, and limestone, 
disintegrating masses of which form the lower spurs and 
foothills, and close in the narrow line of central plain. It 
is here, near the streams, that the ruby beds are found, 
beneath layers of clay, gravel, and sand, which thicken to 
20 feet or more. The ruby-bearing sand is generally 
about 2 feet thick. This sand on being brought to the 
surface is full of minute rubies, from amongst which the 
larger are picked out after washing. The primitive 
methods of 1886 have long given place to scientific 
working, and rubies are evolved from the mass of disinte- 
grating material forming the lower hills as well as from 
the flats adjoining the beds of the streams. The lessees 
of the mines under the Burmese Government paid 
-£20,000 annually for the right of working, and gave up 
all the biggest rubies to the king. The company formed 
soon after our occupation of Upper Burma originally 
leased the mines for an annual payment of .£30,000 to 
Government, and one-sixth of the net profits on the 
workings. Great as is the promise of such an under- 
taking as the working of the chief sources of ruby supply 
for the whole world, the difficulties that surround it are 
not inconsiderable. Malaria, illicit smuggling, and local 
labour disturbances have all to be reckoned with, to say 


nothing of the enhanced cost of production, which the 
introduction of expensive plant and machinery necessarily 

Taking it altogether, the economic prospects arising 
from the mineral resources of India (enormously scattered 
as they are) must be considered to be poor in comparison 
with those of newer countries. Development in the pro- 
duction of all the principal metals is crushed by English 
competition ; and as regards the precious metals, gold and 
silver, India is nowhere in a field which includes Africa, 
America, and Australia. In coal and salt and some other 
useful mineral commodities she may rise to the level of 
dispensing with importation, and has already become self- 
supporting. Diamonds, rubies, and other precious stones 
are her heritage, and the source of them is apparently 
unexhausted ; but it still remains to be seen whether the 
European mining engineer, with his scientific methods 
and latest machinery, will effect very much more than 
the unlimited labour resources of past ages of native 

The Geological Survey Reports are naturally the best authorities for 
all relating to India's capacity for mining developments. But this, as 
an economic feature in India's progress, is also watched and measured 
by journalists in that country, and is the subject for constant speculation 
and inquiry in the Indian periodicals. Most of the information given 
above is obtained from special sources, but there is a good deal to be 
learned from the usually careful statements and the correspondence 
relating to Indian mining progress which appear from time to time in 
the leading newspapers. I am indebted to the Pioneer for a great deal 
of such general information. 



The laws which govern the Indian climate and the suc- 
cession of its seasons are now fairly well ascertained. In 
India and on the borders of India almost any extreme of 


^o'i ill nrfTi 





tf»X -<^ 



^r \ / u 

y?°' y^ x 

y\ /£r ^ 



^ *o 








Fig. 103. 

climate that is known to the tropics or the temperate zone 
may be encountered, half of the continent lying actually 
within the tropics. A line joining Dakka in Bengal to 
Ahmedabad on the north of Gujrat i§, approximately the 
line which divides the two zones. 

It is, however, remarkable that the greatest extremes 
of heat are experienced within the northern zone, as well 




as the greatest extremes of cold, the climate of all the 
southern part of the continent being far more equable 
than that of the northern. It is in Sind and in the high- 
lands of Baluchistan that the range of temperature between 
extreme limits is most marked. It is a matter of no 
infrequent occurrence for the thermometer to record a 
rise or fall of 70° Fahrenheit within twenty-four hours on 
the elevated plains about Kalat, ranging upwards from 20 
degrees of frost during the nights of early autumn, when 



Fig. 104. 

the heat acquired from a still powerful sun is radiated 
from the barren rocks and sand under a clear sky with 
inconceivable rapidity. Then the cold at night, enhanced 
by 6000 or 7000 feet of elevation, becomes almost un- 
endurable by contrast with the scorching heat of the sun's 
rays by day. Quetta, which is less than 100 miles north 
of Kalat, but situated at a somewhat less elevation, and 

346 INDIA 

rather more protected by its surrounding wall of moun- 
tains, experiences a good deal of this extraordinary 
thermometric variation, and it is to this in great part that 
we must attribute those periodic outbreaks of fever which 
occasionally place the garrison hors de combat at the 
changing seasons of the year. 

The cold of the Afghan and Baluch highlands, which 
is very severe in winter, is much accentuated by the 
periodic blasts of north-westerly wind which are par- 
ticularly noticeable on the western borders of those 
countries. These wind currents may be traced through 
Western Afghanistan,Turkestan, and Persia to the Caucasus 
and the Caspian deserts. They reach the frontiers of 
India in Sind and the Punjab in full blast, bringing with 
them a peculiar haze caused by minute particles of dust 
held in atmospheric suspension, and enveloping the land- 
scape in a mist which lasts for days. In the Turkestan 
deserts these icy blasts (more icy there than on the 
Indian border) are locally known as " Shamshir " (or the 
scimitar) from their cutting intensity. In the Persian 
Gulf they are called "Shumal" or u northerly" gales; but 
wherever they are met their character is the same. They 
are not healthy, rain-bearing currents from the sea, but 
dry, icy blasts generated in high altitudes (possibly in the 
Russian steppes), and they sweep across the high plateaux 
of Western Asia unchecked by any formidable ranges 
and unmodified by the influence of forests or cultivation. 
They have a distinct influence on the climate of the Indian 
borderland, but gradually become lost in the low altitudes 
of the plains. 

But if Baluchistan can produce an exceptional record 
of cold in winter, it is no less remarkable for the heat of 
certain of its low-lying tracts in summer. The actual 
registered record of high temperature belongs to Jacobabad 
in Sind, where the thermometer for days together occa- 
sionally descends no lower than io8° F. in the shade. 
But there are certain well-known points on the Sind 
border near the line of railway connecting Jacobabad 
with Quetta, in which the temperature becomes even more 


intolerable than it is in Jacobabad, where it is modified to 
a certain extent by a well-developed growth of trees and a 
considerable extent of irrigated cultivation. Farther west, 
throughout the low valleys of Makran as far as the Persian 
border, the heat of summer is also extreme- — so much so 
that on the Persian border it is maintained locally that an 
egg may be cooked on the open ground under a summer 
sky. Here, however, there is practically no cold weather 
whatever. In Sind and throughout the Punjab there is a 
winter which extends through a greater or less period 
according to the latitude, and which does much (especially 
in the Punjab, where there are eight cool months in the 
year) to modify the effects of the exceptional heat of 
summer. The climate of the Punjab, where the extremes 
of temperature range far apart (if not so far as in Sind), 
is a possible one for continued European existence ; and 
although statistics show a greater mortality amongst 
Europeans in the Punjab than in other parts of the Indian 
empire, it is on the whole a popular province for resi- 
dence on account of the long cold weather. 

Throughout the north-west the winter climate is as 
nearly perfect as climate can be. Bracing, without any 
bitterness of cold, bright and clear, it forms one of the 
great charms of Indian existence, and even when the fierce 
heat of early summer has passed and the monsoon rains 
succeed, it is by no means unendurable. Farther south, 
as we reach the tropical area, the average temperature 
increases ; but the variation diminishes, and with this 
diminished variation there is no doubt diminished risk 
of many of those ills which are the bane of Anglo-Indian 
existence. Calcutta, Bombay, and Madras all possess the 
equable climate that is induced by proximity to the sea. 
Calcutta, however, enjoys a distinct period of cold weather 
which is not to be found in the other Presidency towns. 
The average temperature of the air in shade at Bombay 
is about 8o° F., and at Madras somewhat higher ; but 
the damp enervating atmosphere of these low-lying coast 
ports enhances the effects of the recorded heat, and the 
result of long residence in the south of India is un- 

348 INDIA 

doubtedly a degree of physical deterioration such as is 
not experienced in the north. Throughout India exception 
must be made to those stations which enjoy the cool 
atmosphere of high altitude. There are hill-stations 
scattered through the length and breadth of India, all of 
them possessing local attractions, which render them 
delightful resorts for many months of the year. India, 
indeed, possesses every sort of climate, and it may appear 
difficult at first sight to account for the extraordinary 
modifications (if not actual contradictions) which occur 
even within a comparatively small area. Many of these 



SEASON /-— =rr~^ • SEASON 

Fig. 105. 

weather anomalies are due to the influence which the 
physiography of the country exercises on the monsoon 
currents, to the periodic return of which all India looks 
for that all-important rain-supply which yearly waters 
the parched plains, and renders its deserts green with 
abundant fertility. 

The monsoon is the yearly salvation of the millions 
that live on the fruits of the soil. A good or bad mon- 
soon is the criterion of plenty or of famine. By it India 
lives ; without it there is starvation, death, and misery. 
The anxiety, therefore, with which all, from highest to 
lowest, look out for the first warning telegrams from 
the Seychelles or Mauritius of these indications which 
are the forerunners of the yearly rain-supply may well 



be imagined. The explanation of the natural phenomena 
which precede and accompany the monsoon are simple 
enough. During the winter months, when the meridional 
sun is low, the surface of the earth throughout the 
Southern Asiatic continent cools down by the radiation 
of its heat into space until its temperature is below that 
of the adjoining sea. Atmospheric pressure rises over the 
ocean and falls over the land ; but after March, as the 
sun strikes with more direct rays, and the daily period 
to which the earth is exposed to them grows longer, this 





Fig. 106. 

difference in temperature is reversed. The land speedily 
becomes hotter than the ocean, and the falling pressure of 
the atmosphere above it induces strong moisture -laden 
currents to set towards India from the seas south of the 
equator, where the pressure is rising under the influence 
of their winter's sun. Thus is originated the south-west 
monsoon, which usually reaches the west coast of India 
about the end of May, and is fairly established through 
the Northern Provinces by the end of June. Its action 
on the interior of the country is modified by the resistance 
that it encounters on its course, and this resistance is 
chiefly found in mountain altitudes, which arrest the 
currents, and lead directly to the condensation of the 
wind-borne vapour and the precipitation of rain. 

350 INDIA 

As the monsoon currents sweep up from the south- 
west towards India, it is clearly the configuration of the 
western coast that will in the first instance influence the 
amount of local rainfall in the interior, for any cause 
which tends to cool the condensed vapours will precipitate 
the rain. If we look at a map of Western India we 
shall see that from Karachi to the Narbada River, north of 
which the Vindhya chain extends its terminal spurs towards 
the sea, there is no obstruction to the north-eastward 
sweep of the monsoon offered by elevated land or moun- 
tains. Along the valley of the Indus, and across the hot 
sands of Rajputana and Sind, the rain-bearing currents 
pass onward with no cooling medium to arrest their 
progress and precipitate the moisture with which they are 
charged, until they reach the Punjab and United Provinces, 
and finally burst against the outer Himalayan ranges in 
a watery deluge. The hills of Baluchistan stand almost 
on the edge of the area influenced by the monsoon, which 
loses much of its force in the northern part of the Arabian 
Sea, and is hardly perceptible on the coasts of Western 
Makran. Karachi and lower Sind, with the skirts of the 
Baluch mountains, feel its influence, but the rainfall gener- 
ally in Sind and Rajputana is small compared to that in 
the sub-Himalayan regions. On the southern spurs of 
the mountains between Kashmir and Nepal the average 
monsoon rainfall is about 80 inches. 

South of the Narbada the line of the Western Ghats, 
which represents the western edge of the elevated plateau 
of Central India, faces the ocean at a distance of some 
40 or 50 miles from the coast. Here the monsoon cur- 
rents are compelled to rise into the cooler atmospheric 
strata in order to pass the barrier of hills, with the result 
that they lose the greater part of their moisture before 
they reach the Central Provinces or Madras. Thus the 
rainfall on the Ghats averages 120 inches, whilst a few 
miles only beyond the highest ranges of the Ghats it may 
fall to 20 or 30 inches. 

But the most remarkable effect is produced at the 
head of the Bay of Bengal. Here the gathering masses 


of watery vapour are driven over the surface of the heated 
sea for hundreds of miles without check, till they break 
on the southern edge of the Khasia hills in Eastern Bengal. 
At this point the rainfall is extraordinary, 50 or 60 feet 
being a not unusual register at Cherra Punji on the edge 
of the plateau. At Shillong (which is about 40 miles 
beyond the edge) the rainfall becomes normal. It is 
interesting to note that with this terrific rainfall the climate 
of Cherra Punji is not unendurable. All the surface soil 
is washed away from the rocky substrata, and a scanty 
vegetation is maintained with difficulty, but the rain de- 
scends in liquid sheets for a certain number of hours only, 
and during the interludes the atmosphere is more free 
from mist and damp than is the case at many hill-stations 
with one-tenth of its rainfall, and double its surcharged 
environment of clouds. 

The Central and Eastern Provinces of India are but 
very partially benefited by the south-west monsoon. 
The storage of moisture drawn from the sea is exhausted 
before it reaches them. They consequently retain a good 
deal of their surface heat after the north-eastern seas of 
the Bay of Bengal have cooled, and when the monsoon 
currents from the south-west diminish in force (which 
usually happens about the middle of September) they 
become diverted and reversed. A north-east monsoon 
sets in from the opposite direction, which, although it 
acts over a much more restricted area, fulfils a com- 
pensatory function of watering and fertilising for the 
southern portions of the peninsula. Thus Madras and 
the districts immediately north of it are subject to two 
monsoons yearly, the second only lasting for two months 
or thereabouts, and terminating usually in November. 

Ceylon, of course, receives the benefit of both mon- 
soons, and as the highest altitudes and main watersheds 
of that island are situated about its centre, it enjoys two 
distinct climates, one portion of it on the south-west falling 
under the full influence of the south-west rains, whilst the 
north-eastern section remains comparatively dry ; and 
vice versa when the currents of vapour set in the opposite 

352 INDIA 

direction. In the southern parts of Ceylon it appears to 
rain incessantly for eight months in the year from June 
to January. 

As might be expected, the monsoon winds exercise a 
direct influence on the surface currents of the ocean 
surrounding India, these currents generally following the 
direction of the wind, and varying in intensity with the 
strength of the monsoon-. The tidal action is regular 
under ordinary conditions of wind and weather. A very 
comprehensive system of tidal observations has been 
initiated by Government, and tidal stations have been 
established at important points all round the coast. The 
results of a scientific analysis of these investigations as 
a whole will be most interesting when completed. 

Cyclonic disturbances in the Bay of Bengal cause 
tidal waves which are most disastrous in their effects on 
the low-lying delta of the Ganges and Brahmaputra 
rivers, and cause periodically enormous destruction of 
life and property. Mercifully they are rare. 

The effects of the periodic and regular action of the 
south-west monsoon on the western outlines of the coast 
are very marked at certain points, where the sea encroach- 
ment can be readily measured. The temple of Dwarka, 
for instance, on the coast-line between Karachi and 
Bombay, is now perilously near the sea. Already some 
outlying portions of it have disappeared, and it is said 
that these can be seen at low water. The temple not 
long ago stood far inland. Farther north we have a 
somewhat difficult and unsatisfactory means of com- 
parison between the shape of the coast outline in modern 
days and that which existed several centuries before the 
Christian era, between the mouth of the Indus and the 
Persian Gulf. The Greek galleys of Nearkhos (Alexander's 
admiral of the fleet) necessarily followed the coast-line 
when making their slow way from India to Persia, 
because they were more or less dependent on the land 
forces for their supplies ; and the details of the voyage are 
given in his ancient log from day to day. It is almost 
impossible to restore an exact outline of the coast of these 


long-ago centuries, but enough can be gathered to show 
that great changes have taken place. Islands have cer- 
tainly disappeared, and harbours or ports have as certainly 
been filled up. The Indus delta has advanced seawards 
to such an extent as to leave the ancient ports of 
mediaeval days 30 to 40 miles inland. Old channels 
forming navigable " mouths " have disappeared even in 
historic times, and new ones have opened out, the great 
river itself having shifted 50 or 60 miles westward from 
its original course, which once terminated in the Rann of 
Kach. Within quite modern days the coast immediately 
contiguous to Karachi has shallowed from the results of 
dredging the Karachi channel, whilst monsoon influences 
are apparent in the gradual increase of sand encroach- 
ment. Northward of Cape Monze, in the north-east bend 
of the Arabian Sea (marked by Sonmiani Bay), the land 
has here and there gained on the sea, the classical harbour 
of Morontobara being now but* an inland depression, and 
the fishing village of Sonmiani, which once stood on the 
edge of the bay, is already separated from the sea at low 
water by a mile or more of mud flats. 

The sea has swallowed up many an island which 
must have once existed near the coast, and distributed 
the debris along the foreshore. A small island off the 
coast at Gwattar Bay was in the course of a single 
year (1890) split into two, and 6 fathoms of water 
were found in the channel that parted the divisions. 
Probably that island has now disappeared altogether. 
Many a bay on the Makran coast north of the Arabian 
Sea has silted up into sandy scrub-covered flats during the 
last twenty-five centuries ; the general impression formed 
by a comparison with ancient records being that, on the 
whole, the land has gained on the sea. Possibly the set 
or drift of the south-west monsoon may have some 
connection with the formation of the " bar," which is a 
prevailing feature of the entrance to nearly all the har- 
bours and bays of the coast of Makran or of India. The 
existence of this obstacle to free navigation renders some 
otherwise good harbours, with deep soundings and 


354 INDIA 

wide accommodation unapproachable on the Makran 
coast, and is a subject of periodic difficulty, even in such 
ports as Karachi and Bombay. The narrow channel of 
the former is only kept clear by constant dredging ; and 
the entrance of large steamers to Bombay is only effected 
under favourable tidal conditions. 

On both east and west coasts the estuaries of great 
rivers lead to a shallowing of the sea approach for many 
miles from land, the rivers themselves failing to cut out a 
submarine channel which would render navigation easy. 
The Indus on the west is only navigated (like the Goda- 
vari on the east) by shallow flat-bottomed steamers of the 
very lightest draught ; and off Coconada, which marks the 
mouth of the Godavari, it is hardly possible for ships of 
any size to anchor within sight of land. On all coasts 
alike there is an unceasing surf, rendering the process of 
landing difficult and occasionally dangerous. This is, of 
course, very much modified in the harbours and indenta- 
tions of the coast. 

It is impossible to touch the subject of India's coast- 
line without reference to those " backwaters " which add so 
much to the magnificence of the Ghat scenery of Western 
India. Here the sea runs in narrow inlets, which are 
shaped in long reaches more or less parallel to the coast- 
line, and extend in long arms of smooth water, sheltered 
and bordered by steep hills covered with dense vegetation, 
reaching from the water's edge up to their mist-crowned 
heights. More than one great artist besides Turner has 
sought inspiration from the scenery of the Western Ghats 
and seas. They are as remarkable for the peculiarity of 
their formation as for their unique beauty. 

The effect of the monsoon rains in restoring the 
vigour of sun-dried nature, its influence on all the varied 
conditions of animal and vegetable life, is infinitely more 
marked by the strong contrasts presented before and 
after its appearance, than it would be under the influences 
of more temperate phases of climate. 

The effect of the unclouded rays of early summer sun 
on the heated plains of Northern India is a recurrent 


experience to all whose work lies in them, and once 
experienced is not easily forgotten. The early hours of 
morning are the only hours when existence is pleasur- 
able ; the fitful coolness induced by a fall of 10 degrees or 
so in the register of the thermometer is speedily dissipated 
as the white-faced sun, seen through a veil of dust, moves 
upward into the brassy sky — a sky from which all vestige 
of atmospheric blue seems to have been washed out by 
heat. Then doors and windows are closed, and as much 
of the coolness of the morning as possible is trapped 
inside the house to last for another hour or so, whilst the 
sun-baking process continues outside. Birds, with their 
beaks open and gasping, seek shelter in such shade as 
they may find ; cattle gather under the trees, some species 
of which, providentially, retain much of their freshness 
and give the needed shelter both to birds and beasts ; the 
field labourer, who has done the little that is possible 
amidst his hard-baked plots in the dark hours of early 
morning, retires into the recesses of his mud-brick shanty, 
and all the outside world drops into a sweltering doze till 
the sun gradually sinks and disappears again. 

The monotony of the long wearisome day is varied 
by speculations about the wind. Will it be strong enough 
and will it be hot enough to carry a draught through the 
soaking screen of " kuskus " grass which is set up on 
edge at the doors or windows in order to distribute a 
life-sustaining current of coolness through the house ? 
The hot wind usually sets in about 10 A.M., and lasts till 
4 P.M., and on its regularity depends a good deal of the 
comfort of European mankind. No artificial invention 
successfully takes its place as a powerful agent in evaporat- 
ing moisture and inducing a cool current of air thereby. 
With it the temperature of a well-managed house may be 
reduced to 8o° F. or thereabouts. Without it the ther- 
mometer in the shade of the bungalow and in the shadow 
of the garden trees will register much the same, i.e. any- 
thing between 90 and no according to the locality. 
The punkah does not of course affect the air tem- 
perature. It merely affects the temperature of the skin 

356 INDIA 

by the process of evaporation under a gentle current of 
moving air. 

As the hot weather proceeds the first sign of the 
approaching regeneration of dead nature is usually the 
recurrence of sand or dust storms. Unpleasant as these 
rushes of dust-laden air may be, they do undoubtedly cool 
the atmospheric furnace, whether accompanied by rain (as 
is frequently the case) or not. There is much that is im- 
pressive about the resistless advance of a dust-storm, but 
it is not often that the phenomenon can be watched to 
advantage. I once watched an apparently solid wall of 
whirling sand sweeping along the plains of the Derajat 
until it broke eventually against the foot of the mountain 
on which I stood above it. I noted with astonishment 
the extreme regularity of its movements. There was no 
hurrying and no scattering of its force. No column of 
troops could have advanced with such a level front, with 
such apparently resistless action, or with one-fifth its 
velocity. There was not a break in the flat wall of dull 
red sand which reached upward some 200 feet above the 
plain, presenting its red-brown front to the mountains, 
with purple wisps and streamers curling aloft like the 
banners of a Dervish army. So long as the plain was 
unbroken and its surface level, not an opening or an 
indentation could be marked, but as soon as it reached 
the slanting spurs of the lowest hills, rushes were made 
from flanks and centre. Small clouds of skirmishers 
streamed up the narrow gullies between the spurs, mount- 
ing high and falling backwards, as waves fall, ere they 
reached the summit of the hill. Soon the whole atmos- 
phere thickened, and although no great amount of dust 
reached upwards to the 4000 feet of elevation on which 
I stood, a smart shower of rain put an end to further 

The first heavy rain that denotes the arrival of the 
expected monsoon fills the whole country with gladness. 
In an almost incredibly short space of time the brown 
hard surface of an uninteresting level of endless plain is 
changed into a sea of vegetation. Not only do the young 


crops spread in vivid green expanse against the grey 
background with startling rapidity, but ill-gotten weeds 
appear in every crevice of the broken wall and pasture- 
land, and in every unoccupied space of the cultivated 
garden. The gardener rejoices in a new birth of flowers, 
and resigns himself to philosophical contemplation of the 
weeds, and watches both grow together under the magic 
influence of the rains in rank abundance. Life becomes 
endurable once more ; birds begin to chatter (they never 
sing under any circumstances in the plains of India), and 
the cultivator turns to the consideration of his annual 
rotation of crops. 

Closely connected with the climatic changes that are 
so marked in India is the all-important matter of their 
influence on European health and life. It is not simply 
the heat of India, nor the uncongenial surroundings of 
native apathy and perversity, so foreign to the nature of 
the European trained in British schools ; not the expatria- 
tion, nor the yearning for the arts and graces of a newer 
and more familiar form of civilisation — none of these 
things, nor all these combined, would prevent the colonisa- 
tion of India by Englishmen were the great barrier caused 
by ill-health and failing vitality to be removed. The first 
question asked about any locality to which the vicissitudes 
of official life may despatch the servant of the Indian 
Government is — " Is it healthy ? " As a matter of fact 
no part of India is altogether suitable for European 
existence. Neither plains nor hills, jungles nor deserts, 
are altogether free from that slow but most pernicious 
influence which is called " malaria " ; but the geographical 
distribution of the worst forms of that pernicious poison 
(or of the particular species of mosquito which distributes 
it) is worth attention. 

There are many forms of the malady known as Indian 
fever ; and inasmuch as it claims more victims in a year 
in one single district in India than all other diseases put 
together (even including epidemics, as plague and cholera), 
and is probably the greatest barrier that exists to the 
development of European life in the country, it becomes 

358 INDIA 

a subject of paramount interest to all students of Indian 
physiography. The locality of its original development is 
limited by the physical conditions of altitude and latitude. 
Above a certain elevation (which may be roughly defined 
as about 7000 feet above sea) it apparently does not 
germinate, and it is not to be found in north latitudes, the 
limits of which are as yet undefined, but which are at any 
rate north of India. It is probably not far from the 
truth to say that every European who passes any con- 
tinued period of his life in the plains or in the climate of 
the lower hills which border the higher ranges is more 
or less impregnated with malarial poison. Equability of 
temperature is the great safeguard against its development, 
and therefore districts contiguous to the sea are more 
exempt from fever than those farther inland. At the 
same time nothing seems to arouse the dormant energies 
of the malarial microbe more than sea air after a long 
inland residence and apparent freedom from its effects. 
A change from the moist, warm climates of Southern 
India on the coast to the dry and apparently invigorating 
atmosphere of such hills as those of Baluchistan will 
frequently accelerate the disease and decimate a regi- 
ment before it has had time to acclimatise. The 
origin of all malarial germs seems to lie beyond dis- 
pute in decaying matter subjected to the influence of 
heat, and the distributing agent seems as certainly to be 
a particular species of mosquito ; but it has hardly yet 
been fully ascertained how far locality influences the varied 
action of the fever germ, or tends to the reproduction of 
the mosquito. 

Throughout Northern India the unhealthy season is 
reckoned to follow immediately after the rains. It is 
then that the earth is saturated with moisture, whilst the 
sun's rays are yet strong upon it, and there is the first 
touch of the coolness of coming winter abroad in the air. 
The jungles of the Tarai at the foot of the Himalayas, as 
well as some of the low valleys amongst the mountains 
themselves, become rank with malaria. No European 
enters them, and only such natives as appear to have 


purchased a species of immunity from long acquaintance 
with the malarial demon. 

But this bane of fever is by no means confined to 
the districts where vegetation is rank. It pervades the 
agricultural districts of the plains and the streets of great 
cities alike. It knows no distinctions of locality except in 
degree. It follows the course of irrigation, and appears 
with special virulence wherever the earth is freshly up- 
turned in places which have long lain undisturbed. As 
the season wears on and the drying process is gradually 
completed, when the shorter days are cooler and the 
breath of the cold weather is distinctly felt, fever gradually 
diminishes. By December all the northern forests and 
valleys are comparatively safe, and the sportsman goes 
abroad with freedom until the end of the hot weather in 
June. During the first month or so of the rains, before 
the earth is saturated, there is comparatively little risk. 
Local irrigation and flooding have rendered many a station 
in the Punjab and along the frontier of the Derajat 
notorious for malaria, where once it was comparatively 
unknown. It is during the annual desiccation of the 
paddy fields, where rice has been cultivated in the Pesha- 
wur Valley, that the fever poison is especially active and of 
a peculiarly malignant character. It is not the humidity 
of the monsoon alone that is accountable for the wide- 
spread character of autumn unhealthiness in Northern 
India. The ordinary processes of cultivation by means 
of irrigation have a large share in the development of 
poisonous influences, and some of the severest of the 
periodic outbreaks occur in districts where there is com- 
paratively little vegetation beyond the ordinary growth of 

Within the limits of tropical India the duration of the 
healthy season in jungle-covered districts greatly diminishes. 
This is no doubt due to the gradual prolongation of the 
rainy season, as the action of the north-east monsoon in 
succession to that of the south-west becomes more and 
more developed, whilst at the same time the sun's rays 
remain effective for mischief for a longer period. There 

360 INDIA 

are certain tracts in the Central Provinces bordering the 
Godavari River, and extending from that river to the neigh- 
bourhood of the east coast, of which it is difficult to affirm 
that they possess any healthy season at all. The more 
southern districts of the Central Provinces and much of 
Northern Madras is perhaps the most poisonous tract in 
all India. Not all the well-known precautions with which 
every traveller in the wilds of India is acquainted will 
avail against the thorough saturation of his system with 
malarial poison if he remains long in these jungles. The 
exclusion of night air, the lighting of bonfires to promote 
circulation of dry currents, sleeping inside mosquito cur- 
tains (which is undoubtedly a protection) and on a bed 
raised high above ground, constant recourse to quinine 
(most valuable safeguard of all), and care taken to avoid 
work in grass or forest reeking wet from dew either too 
early or too late — all these combined will not save the 
sportsman long, even at that season of the year which in 
northern jungle-covered districts is reckoned to be fairly 
healthy. It is probable that during the early period of 
the south-west rainfall, when the low-lying forest-covered 
flats of the Godavari basin are actually under water to a 
great extent, the best chance of comparative immunity 
from fever might be found, but it is a season which other- 
wise is not adapted either to sport or work. The failure 
of the scheme for opening up the Godavari to navigation 
from the north of the Central Provinces to the sea was 
due as much to the impossibility of maintaining a body of 
workmen under efficient European supervision in this 
poisonous country as to any inherent engineering diffi- 
culties presented by the cataracts or rapids. All that 
remains of that scheme now may be seen in a half- 
completed waterway blasted through the rocky river-bed at 
a point some hundred miles above the mouth of the river, 
and in the fragments of forgotten and fallen bungalows 
in which lived (and died) many of the European staff 
engaged in the scheme. But the extension of Indian 
railways has long ago discounted the necessity for river 
navigation in this part of India. 


Farther south again, though the Madras jungles still 
retain their reputation for a special breed of malarial 
microbe which renders existence in them most precarious, 
the narrowing of the continent and the culmination of 
Eastern and Western Ghats in the plateaux and peaks of the 
Nilgiris and other groups of hills largely reduces the fever- 
stricken area, and introduces the healthy influences of sea- 
breezes and high altitudes. This, with the equable tem- 
perature of the province, which enjoys a climate which is 
described as " eternally hot," no doubt tends to maintain 
the credit of the Madras province as the healthiest in 
India. Into a disquisition on the varieties of Indian 
malarial fevers this is no place to enter. It is enough to 
say that there are so many different types that it is difficult 
to grasp the idea of a common origin for them all. From 
a close approximation to cholera symptoms, through 
those of intermittent " ague and fever " to enteric, and even 
to the oriental form of influenza known as " dengue," we 
have probably nothing to thank except the malarial germ 
and the ubiquitous mosquito. The latter deserves the very 
closest attention from our medical biologists and investi- 
gators ; for the whole question of European acclimatisation 
and the future of India as a British colony is very closely 
connected with his suppression. 

" Bartholomew's Physical Atlas " is a mine of wealth for information 
of a general character on the phenomena of climate in India. Excellent 
charts are also published in Calcutta, and the Reports of the Meteoro- 
logical Department are full of instruction. Personal experience in many 
parts of the continent and the border countries, combined with the re- 
sults of personal observations of a scientific nature, have also assisted 
largely in the compilation of this chapter. 


Abbottabad, 295 

Abi-i-Panja River, 69 

Abraham, 45 

Abu, Mount, 132 

Adam's Bridge, 192; Peak, 193 

Aeng Pass, 173 

Afghan-Baluch Plateau, 42 ; War, 
28, 101 

Afghanistan, 27, 243, 249 ; Amir 
of, 74, 251 ; boundaries of, 28, 
59; "buffer" between Russia 
and India, 67 ; ethnography of, 
95 ; cultivation of, 94 ; frontier 
railways of, 78 ; independence 
of, 251 ; Northern Turkestan, 
Province of, 61 ; plateau of, 84 ; 
progress of, 91 ; railway require- 
ments of, 94 ; relative position 
of three chief cities of, 87 ; re- 
sources of, 94 ; routes on northern 
frontier, 70 ; Russian position 
north of, 63 ; statistics of, 56 ; 
trade of, 91 ; uplands, beauty of 
landscape, 82 

Afghans, the, 28, 51, 83, 213 

Africa, 320 

Afridi Hills, 77 

Afridis, the, 76, 213 

Agra, 147, 298, 301 

Agriculture, 255 

Ahmad Shah, 90 

Ahmadnagar, 22 

Ahmedabad, 305, 344 

Aimaks, 56 

Ajanta, caves of, 306 

Ajmere, 246 

Ajmere-Merwana, 230 

Ajmir, 205, 305 

Ajodhya, 147 

Akbar, the Emperor, 210, 294 

Akcha, 61, 62 

Aksu River, 67, 69 

Akyab, 173, 175 

Alaknanda River, 1 19 


Alaska, 320 

Albuquerque, 312 

Alexander the Great, 16, 49, 52, 54, 
70, 86, 98, 99, 202, 295 ; routes 
of, 13,14 

Ali Masjid, fortress of, 74 

Allahabad, 142, 298, 300, 306 

Almorah, 128 

Alor, 292 

Alpine elevations compared with 
British and Himalayan, 122 

Alps, Bernese, 122 

Alwar, 305 

Amarkantak, 151, 153, 155 

Amber, 206 

Amherst, 175 

Amir Abdur Rahman, 90 

Amirapura, 187 

Amritsar, 210 

Anamali Hills, 132 

Andaman Islands, 6, 222, 230, 231 

Andamanese, the, 222 

Andarab, 86 

Andkhui, 60, 62 

Anglo-Russian Boundary Commis- 
sion, 60 

Antiokhus, 60 

Anuradapura, 196, 197 

Arabia, 20 ; Arabian Sea, 5, 42, 45, 
118; Arabs, 21, 26, 33, 47, 54; 
Saracen, 17 ; Arab influence, 
diffusion of, 20 ; routes over 
High Asia, 17 

Arakan, 173, 174 ; products of, 
174; river, 173 

Aravelli Mountains, 7, 9, 132 

Arcot, 164 

Argandab Valley, 94 

Arghasdn Valley, 94 

Arnawai River, 69 

Arnold, Sir Edwin, 191 

Arrian, 52, 53, 55 

Art industries, 273 

Aryans, the, 53, 202, 204 



Asia, High, Arab routes over, 17 

Assam, 3, 6, 114, 115, 120, 142, 
146, 170, 230, 235, 325 ; coal- 
fields in, 326 ; drainage of, 119 ; 
goldfields of, 339 ; hills of, 8 

Assensole, 306 

Assyria, 17 

Assyrians, the, 26 

Astola, Island of, 45 

"Ata," 256 

Attok, 137; bridge, 295 

«Aurungzebe, the Emperor, 212, 

Australia, 319 
Ava, 180, 181 
Ayodhya, 201 
Azad Khan, 51 

Babar, 70, 97 

Babylon, 17 

Back Bay, 309 

Bactria, 93 

Badagas, the, 216 

Badakshan, 56, 61, 93, 94, 99 

Badrinath peaks, 119 

Bagdad, 17, 20 

Bahadur Khel, 330 

Bahawalpur, 246, 247 

Bajaor, 70, 71, 72, 75, 100, 103 

Baktria, 99 

Bala Murghab, 62 

Balaghat, 162 

Balkh, 63, 64 

Ball, V., 333 

Balu Chang River, 184 

Baluch-Afghan plateau, 42 ; border- 
land, 244 ; frontier, Dravidian 
occupation of, 53 ; -Perso Boun- 
dary Commission, 47 

Baluchis, the, 51, 213 

Baluchistan, 1, 27, 72, 95, 243, 249, 
346; boundaries of, 28, 34, 35 ; 
British, 35, 230 ; ethnography 
of, 52 ; frontier, hydrography of, 
38 ; general configuration of, 54 ; 
independent, 35, 251 ; irrigation 
in, 261 ; statistics of, 24 

Bamian, 65 ; Valley, 86 

Band-i-Baran range, 86 

Band-i-Turkestan Mountains, 60 

Bangalore, 162, 166, 227, 311 

Bannu, 76, 79 

Bara Valley, 259 

Baramulla, 108 

Barley, 256 

Baroda, 246, 247, 248 

Baroghel Pass, 69 
Bartholomew's Physical Atlas, 361 
Bashgold Kaffirs, 99 ; River, 69, 

70; Valley, 104 
Basra, 17 

Bassein, 181 ; Channel, 181 
Beas River, 14, 136 
Behar, 148 
Belgaum, 312 
Bellew, Dr. H. W., 52, 99, 101, 

Benares, 15, 147, 298, 301 ; brass 

work, 277 
Bengal, 6, 21, 142, 147, 148, 225, 

229, 231, 232 ; Bay of, 2, 5, 6, 

25, 119; coalfields of, 326; 

scenery of, 149 
Bengalis, the, 223, 225 
"Ben-i-Israel," 96 
Berar, 245 
Beypur, 164, 165 
Bhagirathi, 119, 150 
Bhakkur, 291 
Bhamo, 177, 178, 339 
Bharata tribe, 2 
Bhawalpur, 139 
Bhawani River, 162 
Bhils, the, 202, 219, 268 
Bhilu, 182 
Bhima River, 161 
Bhopal, 246, 247 
"Bhusa," 257 

Bhutan, 25, 120; Duars, 117 
Bibi Nani, shrine of, 45 
Bidar, 22 
Bijapur, 22 
Bikanir, 139, 246 
Bilaspur, 306 
Birdwood, Sir George, 274, 275, 

276, 279, 280 
Birmul Valley, 81 
Bison Range, 160 
Black Mountain, 295 
Blanc, Mont, 122 
Bokhara, 80, 89 
Bolan, 34 ; Pass, 36 ; railway, 40, 

288 ; river, 38, 39, 50 
Boterum, 311 
Boledi, the, 52 
Bolida Valley, 47 
Bolor Mountains, 64 
Bombay, 131, 224, 229, 230, 232, 

304, 307, 313, 354 5 area and 

statistics of, 309 ; Art Schools of, 

275 ; climate of, 347 ; Port of, 




Bor Ghat, 307 

Brahmanism, 15, 201, 208 

Brahmans, 204, 206, 207 ; Mah- 
ratta, 223 

Brahmaputra River, 6, 1 10, in, 
112, 132, 134, 142, 145, 146, 170, 
171, 320, 339; bend of, 171 ; 
source of, 113, 118 

Brahmini River, 156 

Brahuis, the, 33, 53, 54, 202 

Brass work, 277 

Broach, 151 

Broadfoot, Lieut. J., 101 

British elevations compared with 
Alpine and Himalayan, 122 

Buddha, 147, 201 

Buddhism, 15, 18 

Buddhists, 195 

Bugti Mountains, 32 ; tribe, 32 

Bundelkand, 340 

Buner, 103 

Bungashes, the, 100 

Burdwan, 162 

Burma, 25, 112, 170, 171, 174, 175, 
230; area and population of, 1 ; 
British races of, 172; coalfields 
of, 327 ; and Far East, trade 
between, 176; future commercial 
development of, 188; goldfields 
°fj 33%) 339 > mountains of, 8 ; 
products of, 187; railways of, 
316 ; river systems of, 179 ; ruby 
mines of, 342 

Burmese, the, 184 

Bustar, 217, 245 

Butkak, 75 

Buxa, 120 

Byzantine Empire, 21 

Cachar, 171 

Calcutta, 238, 298, 302, 304, 308; 
climate of, 34.7 ; position of, 303 

Cambay, Gulf of, 153 

Canal systems, returns of, 263 

Cape of Good Hope, 21, 22 

Carpets, 279 

Caspian Sea, 17, 61 

Castle Rock, 312 

Cattle, 256 

Caucasus, 14 

Cawnpore, 298, 299 

Ceylon, 3, 6, 22, 47, 170, 234, 267; 
area of, 191 ; Buddhist centres 
in, 196 ; Buddhist ruins in, 195 ; 
climate of, 189; colonisation of, 
191 ; inhabitants of, 191, 198 ; 

irrigation systems in, 261 ; 
Murray's Guide to, 189; products 
of, 194; railways in, 196; rain- 
fall in, 352 ; trade statistics of, 

Chahardar Pass, 86 


Chakdara, 295 

Chakmaktin Lake, 67, 68 

Chaldaea, 43, 187 ; Chaldaeans, 26, 


Chaman, 91, 290; New, 2< 
-Quetta railway, 94 

Chamars, the, 208 

Chamba, 135, 206, 246 

Chamouni, 122 

Chandra Gupta, 14 

Chappar rift, 83 

Charasia, 79 

Charbar, 48 

Chardeh, plains of, 93 

Charikar, 28, 85 

Chenab River, 135, 136, 141, 294 

Chenghiz Khan, 27, 63, 97, 210 

Cherra Punji, rainfall at, 351 

Chesney, Colonel, 283 

Chil River, 29 

Chiltan Peak, 40 

China, 17, 173; geographical rela- 
tions with, 64 ; chief ancient and 
mediaeval trade routes to, 18 

Chindwin River, 179, 339 

Chinese pilgrims, records of, 15 

Chins, the, 172 

Chinsurah, 22 

Chitor, 205, 206, 305 

Chitral, 69, 72, 100, 102, 103, 109; 
River, 69, 70, 104 

"Choi," the, 60 

Chota Nagpur, 151, 156 

" Chupattis," 256 

Chutia Nagpur, 338 

Cinchona, 260 

Civilisation, effect of European, 

Climate, 255, 344; in Himalayas, 
126; influence on European 
health, 357 

Clive, Lord, 22, 26 

Coal, 323, 324 ; -bearing areas, 325 

Coconada, 278, 354 

Coffee, 259, 260 

Coimbatore Gap, 164 

Colombo, 191 ; harbour, 193 

Comorin, Cape, 3, 131 

Constantinople, 21, 97 

3 66 


Conway, Sir Martin, 129 
Cooper's Hill Engineering College, 

Coorg, 230, 231 ; Coorgs, the, 222 
Coromandel Coast, 163, 304 
Cotton, 152, 164, 258, 259 
Cretaceous period, 8, 9 
Crusaders, the, 20 
Cunningham, Sir A., 23 
Cuttack, 156 

Dakka, 74, 278, 344 

Dal Lake, 109 

Dalada, the, 196 

Dalhousie, Lord, 283 

Daman, 22 

Dambulla, 196, 197 

Damuda, 325 

Dardistan, 105 

Darel, 103, 104 

Darius Hystaspes, 99 

Darjiling, 116, 119, 121, 127, 128 

"Darkest India," 155, 217 

" Dasht," the, 58 

Dasht River, 29 

Debal, 48 

Decca, 316 

Dehra Dun, 127, 227, 321 

Dekkan, 6, 21, 156, 165 

Delhi, 21, 50, 70, 73, 140, 147, 243, 

298, 304, 332 
Dera Ghazi Khan, 50, 76 
Dera Ismail Khan, 32, 57, 76, 136, 

Derajat, 57, 76, 133, 142; River, 32 
Dewangiri, 120 
Diamonds, 339 
Dibrugarh, 171 
Dihang River, 170, 338 
Dir, 70, 103 
Diu, 22 

Doab, the, 140, 141, 262 
Dogra, the, 206 
Domandi, 32, 71, 81 
Dorah Pass, 69, 84, 104 
Dost Mahomed, 28 
Draband River, 322 
Dravidian tribes, 33, 48, 52, 202, 

Duar Plains, 120 
Dubois, Abbe, 268 
Dun Valleys, 114 
Dunagiri Peak, 122 
Durand, A., 129 
Durani Empire, 28, 90 
Duranis, the, 56 

Durbar, the, 241 
Dutch, the, 21, 22, 27 
Dwarka, Temple of, 352 

East India Company, 209, 233, 

283 ; railway, 283, 297, 298 
Economic development, 264 
Egypt, 17 
Elichpur, 22 
Elliott, Sir H., 23 
Ellora, caves of, 306 
Encyclopaedia Britannica, 228, 318 
English, the, 22, 27; Intelligence 

Department, 99 
Eocene period, 9, 10 
Ethiopians, the, 53 
Euphrates River, 17, 43, 53 
Eurasian Colonies, existence of, 

Eurasians, the, 226, 237 
European civilisation, effect of, 

Everest, Mount, 65, in, 116 
Exports, 271 

Farah, 88 

Far East and Burma, trade be- 
tween, 176 
Fergusson, J., 129, 187, 200 
Fever, 357 

Forsyth Mission to Yarkand, 101 
Fort Sandeman, 51 
French, the, 22 
Freshfield, D. W., 129 
Fruit, 257 

Gaimukh, the, 119 

Gairspa Falls, 162 

Galle, 193 

Game, 152 

Gandak River, ill, 143 

Gandava, 49 

Gandhara, 15 

Ganges River, 3, 10, 114, 119, 132, 

144, 149, 262 ; canal system, 260, 

283; deltaic channels of, 148; 

Gangetic basin, 143; delta, 145 ; 

river system, 142 ; sources of, 

Gangotri, 114, 119 
Gangpur, 338 
Gaod-i-Zirreh Swamp, 29 
Garo Hills, 170; Plateau, 146 
Garwhal, 121 
Gautama, 121 
Genoese, the, 21 



Geological Survey Reports, 343 

Ghaggar River, 139 

Ghagra River, 119, 143; source 

of, 118 
Ghats, Eastern and Western, 6, 7, 

11, 131, 132, 155, 157, 164/165, 

167 ; scenery of, 354 
Ghazni, 73, 79, 80, 88 
Ghilzais, the, 28, 56, 97 
Ghor, 87 

Ghorband, 94 ; Valley, 84, 85 
Gibbon, Edward, 4 
Gichki, the, 52 
Gilgit, 72, 102, 103, 109, 295 ; 

Basin, 11 1 ; River, 105, in 
Girishk, 88 

Goa, 22, 165, 196, 311, 312 
Goalanda, 171 
Godavari River, 132, 151, 157, 161, 

245> 3 2 5> 354, 36°; basin > J 5 8 > 

341 ; canal system, 260 ; delta, 

159; valley, 217 
Godwin-Austen, Col. H. H., 129 
Godwin- Austen, Mount, 113 
Golab Sing, 102 
Golconda, 22 ; mines, 340 
Gold, 319, 324, 336 ; imports of, 

Gomal River, 32, 36, 57, 72, 80, 

Gond Highlands, 245 ; Gonds, the, 

160, 202, 217, 268; the Maria, 

Gondwana, 217, 268 ; beds, 8 
Gotturs, the, 218 
Great Central East Indian Railway, 

298; Indian Railway, 300; In- 
dian Peninsular Railway, 283, 

Greek settlements, 14 ; adaptation 

of place names, 14 ; Greeks, the, 

Griesbach, Major C. L., 101, 129, 

Griffin, Sir Lepel, 153, 220, 222, 

Grunth, the, 210 
Gualpara, 170, 171 
Guatama, 197 
Gujrat, 263, 305 
Gulmarg, 109 
Gurkhas, the, 121, 209 
Gwadur, 46; headland of, 45 
Gwalior, 246, 247, 248 
Gwatar, 29 
Gwattar Bay, 353 

Hab River, 32 

Habibulla Khan, 56 

Haidar Ali, 214, 249 

Haidarabad, 138, 245, 247, 310, 

325 ; gold mines in, 338 ; Nizam 

of, 157, 248, 251, 311 
Haig, Major-General M. R., 23, 

138, 139 
"Hakro," 138 
Hamun, the, 29 
Happy Valley, 107 
Haramosh, 107 ; Mountain, 1 1 1 
Hard war, 144, 262, 302 
Hari Rud River, 58, 59, 262 ; 

Valley, 92 
Harnai, 35 ; railway route, 38, 39, 

Hasht^dun, 59 
Hassan Abdul, 295 
Hastings, Warren, 26 
Hazara Hills, 93 ; the Hazaras, 56, 


Hekataios of Miletus, 12 

Helmund River, 13, 43, 49, 57, 
250; basin, 87, 93; delta, 57; 
desert, 30; swamps, 57 

Hendu, 2 

Herat, 56, 58, 62, 84, 86, 87, 
89, 98, 290 ; markets of, 90 ; 
valley of, 92 ; route to Kanda- 
har, 88 

Herodotus, 12, 52, 54, 55, 113 

Hien Tau, 2 

Himalaya Mountains, 5, 8, 9, 102, 
1 10; climate and vegetation of, 
114, 115, 126; elevations com- 
pared with Alpine and British, 
122 ; high stations of, 124 ; 
physical conformation of, 117; 
river systems of, 9 ; region, sub- 
division of, 120 

Hindu Kush, 5, 62, 65, 70, 84, 104, 
105 ; extension from Himalayas, 
58 ; main water-parting of, 106; 
orography of, 66 ; routes over, 
from Kabul, 85 

Hinduism, 207, 209 

Hindus, the, no 

Hindustan, 2. 5, 147 

Hinglaz, 45 ; river, 45 

Hingol River, 45, 53 

Hippalus, 17 

Hoang Ho River, 176 

Hoogley River, 303 

Hoshangabad, 153 

Howrah, 303 

3 68 


Hunter, Sir W. W., 4, 12, 22, 
112, 129, 150, 169, 228, 240, 
254, 310 

Hunza River, 105 

Husainabad, 57 

Ibbetson, Sir Denzil, 207, 212 

Ibn Haukel, 18, 19, 46 

Imports, 271 

India, agriculture of, 255 ; archaeo- 
logical records of, 1 29 ; area 
and population of British, 1 ; 
art industries of, 273 ; canals, 
260, 263 ; castes in, 208 ; census 
reports of, 55; central, 6, 150, 
151, 155, 230, 235, 245; Chris- 
tianity in, 215; climate of, 255, 
344, 357; coal-bearing areas of, 
325; Commander-in-Chief of, 233; 
commerce of, 1 ; " Darkest," 155; 
density of population, 230; diffi- 
culty of land approach to, 26 ; 
district commissioners, 239 ; 
divisions south of Himalayas, 
130 ; early, 1 ; economic develop- 
ment of, 264 ; ethnography of, 
1 ; European civilisation, effect 
of, 252 ; exports, 271 ; gold 
industry of, 339 ; Government of, 

232, 233 ; Governor-General of, 

233, 235; imports, 271; land 
routes to, 12 ; meteorological de- 
partment reports, 361 ; Muham- 
madan advance into, 20; Murray's 
Handbook of, 309 ; Mussulman 
dynasties of, 18; native states 
of, 232, 241, 244, 246,247 ; north- 
west borderland, 29 ; north-west 
frontier, 30, 313; north-west 
provinces of, 6, 101, 142, 230; 
peninsula of, 7, 25, 130; people 
of, 200; political geography of, 
229 ; Portuguese power, decline 
of, 22 ; race distribution in, 201, 
202; railways of, 144, 281, 284, 
291, 298, 306, 315; religions in, 
2ii, 213; revenue of, 1, 255; 
river systems of, 31, 112, 117, 
132 ; Secretary of State for, 233 ; 
Semitic trade with, 17; statistical 
reports, 280, 317; survey depart- 
ment of, 55, 101, 129, 169, 199 ; 
trade expansion in, 272 ; trade 
routes in, 1 7,18; United Provinces 
of, 147, 229; Viceroy of, 233, 
238 ; volcanic eruptions in, 9 

Indian Civil Service, 232, 233, 235; 
coastal trade, 12 ; East Islands, 
47 ; Empire, river basins of, 1 1 ; 
fever, 357 ; frontier, general 
political boundaries of, 20; 
mutiny, 233 

Indigo, 148, 164, 258 

Indikos, 2 

Indo-Gangetic depression, 10; 
Gangetic plain, 4, 130, 298; 
-Persian telegraph system, 46 

Indore, 219, 246, 247, 248, 305 

Indravati River, 157, 160, 217 

Indus River, 2, 10, 14, 36, 43, 65, 
77, 102, no, in, 112, 132, 133, 
137, 141, 294, 354 ; bend of, 1 1 1 ; 
floods of, 139; source of, 113, 
118, 134; basin, 113, 134; delta, 
showing ancient channels, 138, 
353 ; valley, 19, 42, 48, 105 

Infanticide, 205 

Inthas, the, 184 

Irawadi River, 173, 181 ; upper 
basin of, 177; lower basin of, 
179; delta, 174; valley, 173 

Iron, 332 ; ore, 332 

Irrigation, canal, 260 

Ishkashim, 69 

Islam, 98 

Israel, 17 

I tarsi, 306 

JABALPUR, 153, 155 

Jacob, General, 288 

Jacobabad, 32, 36, 139, 288; high 

temperature record in, 346 
Jagdalak, defile of, 75 
Jagdalpur, 160, 245 
Jagganath, festival of, 156 
Jaipur, 160, 205, 206, 245, 246, 249, 

Jakko Hill, 126 
Jalalabad, 74, 104, 296 
Jamnotri, 150 

Jamrud, 298 ; fortress of, 74 
Jamiina River, 171 
Japan, 21 

Jata Skyths, the, 99 
Jehlam River, 108, 135, 136, 294; 

valley of, 109 
Jhansi, 306 
Jodhpur, 205, 246, 249 
Jubbulpur, 157 
Jull Lake, 184 
Jumna River, 10, 142, 150, 262; 

canal system, 260 



Jungfrau, the, 122 
Jurassic period, 8, 9 
Jute, 259 

Kabul, 56, 62, 64, 73, 79, 87, 89, 

120, 243, 251; Amir of, 96, 98; 

river, 14, 26, 73, 74, 7$, 85, 133, 

262; basin, 93, 99; plain, 75; 

valley, 70, 73 ; Khaibar, route to, 

72, ; markets of, 90 ; routes from 

over Hindu Kush, 85 
Kach, 35 ; Gandava, 38 ; desert, 

287 ; plains, 32 
Kachi, 32, 36 
Kachin country, 178; hills, 173, 

Kachins, the, 178, 186 
Kadalur, 164 
Kafiristan, 28, 84, 98; wealth of 

forest in, 93 
Kafirs, the, 105 
Kaisargarh Mountain, 37, 81, 321 ; 

geological panorama from, 322 
Kaitu River, 71 
Kakhyens, the, 186 
Kakurs, the, 38, 213 
Kala Kanda, 340 
Kala Panja, 65, 67, 69 
Kalabagh, 137, 331 
Kalarum River, 162 
Kalat, 32, 41, 42, 49, 244, 250; 

fortress of, 42 ; hills of, 32, 36 ; 

Kambarani Khan of, 28 ; Khan 

of, 35, 250; Kalat-i-Ghilzai, 89 
Kalian, 307 
Kalifat, 40 
Kalka, 127 
Kamal Khan, 57 
Kanara, 164, 222 
Kanauj, 147 

Kanchanjanga Mountain, m, 116 
Kand, 40 
Kandahar, 31, 32, 40, 49, 56, 84, 

87, 89, 91, 94, 244, 250, 290; 

markets of, 90 ; -Quetta Railway, 

290 ; route to Herat, 88 
Kandy, 196 
Kangra, 259 
Kanjut Province, 104 
Kaoshcin Pass, 86, 99 
Kapurtalla, 246, 249 
Kara Kum, 60 
Karachi, 2, 26, 46, 49, 137, 243, 

285, 3^3, 354; club, 287 ; harbour, 

286, 314 ; port, 286 
Karakoram range, 1 1 3 

Karen Islands, 183 

Karenni country, 173 

Karens, The, 172, 186 

Karhabari, 326 ; colliery, 324 

Karli, 307 

Karnatic, the, 162, 214 ; plains, 

Kashdn River, 60 
Kashgar, 109 ; range, 64 
Kashgaria, 120 
Kashmir, 2, 3, 25, 69, 72, 93, 102, 

1 10, 249 ; routes in, 106 ; scenery 

of, 107 
Kashmiri, character of, 1 10 
Kashmund mountains, 99 
Kasmur, 137 
Kathgodam, 128 
Kavari River, 157, 162 
Kawas, 35 
Keene, A. H., 147 
Keing Tung, 189 
Kej, valley, 47, 48 
Keng Tung Plain, 183 
Kermanshah, 279 
Khafila traffic, 85 
Khagan Valley, 141 
Khaibar Pass, 70, 72 ; route to 

Kabul, 73, 75 
Khalifs, the, 17 
Khamiib, 59, 60, 61 
Khandeish, 219 
Khandwa, 306 
Khardn, 41 ; desert, 36, 43 
" Kharif," 257 
Khasia Hills, 170, 171 ; plateau, 

Khatmandu, 121 
Khaw£k Pass, 85 
Khojak Range, 33, 40, 94 
Khorasdn, 27, 29, 250 ; political 

geography of, 13 
Khost, 323 
Kilif, 64 

Kirm£n, 29, 279 
Kirthar Mountains, 33, 42, 49 
Kishenganga River, 135 
Kishin, 331 
Kistna River, 132, 157, 161, 166, 

Kizzilbashes, the, 28 
Knight, E. F., 129 
Koh Daman, 84, 93 
Kohat, 76, 77, 137 ; salt ranges of, 

Koh-i-Baba Mountains, 60, 61, 65, 

2 A 



Koh-i-nur, the, 341 

Koh-i-Taftan Volcano, 30, 40 

Kohistan, 84, 96 

Kohuk Province, 29 

Kois, the, 218 

Kolar Gold Mines, 338 

Kolari Lake, 161 

Kolarian Tribes, 202 

Kollur Diamond Mine, 341 

Kols, the, 202 

Konkan, the, 164 

Kotal-i-Irak Mountain, 86 

Kotas, the, 216 

Kuen Lun Mountains, 5, no 

Kuft work, 277 

Kuhsan, 59 

Kulu Valley, 128 

Kumaon, 25, 113, 116, 121, 122, 

143, 210; passes, 113 
Kunar, 71; river, 74, 104, 133; 

valley, 71, 75, 99, 104, 105 
Kunbis, the, 208 
Kunduz, 64, 99 
Kunlon Ferry, 180, 184, 189 
Kuram, 77 \ pass, 76; river, 71,72, 

Kushk River, 60, 62 
Kutch, Rann of, 353 
Kuttaks, the, 100, 213 
Krateros, 49 
Kshatryas, the, 201, 204 
Kyankpyn, 175 
Kyrene, 99 
Kyrenian Emigrants, 86 

Laccadive Islands, 7, 8, 11 

Ladak, 113, 337 

Laghman Plains, 74, 75 

Lahore, 28, 73, 141, 293 

Land routes between east and 

west, 17 
Lansdowne Bridge, 291 
Laram Peak, 71 
Las Bela, 42, 43, 46, 48, 206, 

Lataband Pass, 75 
Latammar, 330 
Lawrence, W. R., 129 
Ledo Mine, 326 
Lee-Warner, Sir William, 254 
Leh, 109, 113, 119 
Leitner, Dr. G. W., 129 
Letkonbin Colliery, 327 
Lhasa, 113, 118, 119, 121, 170 
Linseed, 256 
Locusts, 290 

Logar River, 78 ; valley, 78, 93, 

London, 267 
Lucknow, 298, 301 
Lunar Race, 201 
Lundi Khana, 74; Kotal, 71, 72, 

Lushai Mountains, 173 
Lushais, the, 172 
Lyall, Sir Alfred, 169, 206, 207, 228, 

Lyddeker, R., 129 
Lytton, Lord, 236, 327 

Macaulay, Lord, 225 

Macedonia, 17 

Macedonians, the, 99 

Mach, 38 

Machlipatnam, 162 

MacMahon, General C.A., 184, 199 

Madagascar, 8 

Madras, 6, 80, 131, 164, 213, 229, 
230, 231, 232, 245, 307, 309, 325 ; 
climate of, 347 ; gold mines of, 
338 ; irrigation systems in, 262 ; 
jungles, 361 ; port of, 308 ; rail- 
way, 283 

Madrasi, the, 214 

Mahabhdrata Epic, 12, 201 

Mahableshwar, 168, 311 

Mahadeo, 221 

Mahanadi River, 132, 151, 156 

Mahavelli Ganga River, 198 

Mahintale, 196, 197 

Mahmud, 89 ; of Ghazni, 79, 

Mahrattas, the, 22 

Maimana, 62 

Maisur, 166, 245 

Maize, 258 

Makran, 14, 18, 20, 21, 29, 41, 
43,44, 45, 46,48, 202, 214, 250; 
exports of, 47 ; immigrations 
through, 49 ; irrigation in, 261 ; 
orography of, 44 ; political geo- 
graphy of, 13; Turanian move- 
ments in, 53 ; vegetation of, 46 

Malabar, 164, 198, 222 ; coast, 165 ; 
hill, 309 

Malakand, 295 

Maldn, 45 ; mountains, 45, 48 

Malay Peninsula, 173 

Maldive Islands, 8, 11 

Malik Siah Koh Peak, 29, 30, 

Malir River, 286 



Manaar, 192 

Manasarawar, Lake, 118, 170, 176 

Manbhum, 338 

Mandalay, 175, 180, 187; -Pegu 

railway, 182 
Manipur, 172, 179, 317 
Manipuris, the, 185 
Maratha Dynasties, 248 
Marathas, the, 248, 266 
Mard£n, 295 
Mardian Islands, 218 
Marmagoa, 312 
Marri, tribe of ; 32 
Martaban, 173, 174 
Marwar, 246 
Mashad, 27 

Mashkap Valley, 38, 289 
Mashkel, 43 ; river, 29, 3 r ; swamp, 

31 ; Hamun swamp, 43 
Mashobra, 114 
Masulipatam, 279 
Matadevi, 219 
Matale, 196, 197 
Matheran, 168, 307 
Matterhorn, the, 122 
Maulmain, 187 
Mauritius, 348 
Mazar, 62 

Mazar-i-Sharif, 61, 62, 63, 64 
M c Crindle, J. W., 23 
Mecca, pilgrims of, 17 
Medes, 26 
Medio, 48, 214 
Megasthenes, 14 
Meghna River, 146, 171 
Mekong River, 176, 178, 183 
Mengun, 187 
Mentara Gye, King, 188 
Mergui Archipelago, 173 ; port of, 


Mesopotamia, 48, 53, 202, 214 

Meteorological Department Re- 
ports, 361 

Mewar, 246 ; Ranas of, 204 

Mian Mir, 294 

Milesia, 99 

Millet, 152, 256 

Minerals, 319 

Mir Mahmud Khan, 34 

Miranzai River, yj ; valley, 77 

Miri Peak, 40 

Mogaung River, 178 

Moghuls, the, 17, 20, 265, 266, 268 

Mogok, 187 ; ruby and sapphire 
mines of, 341 

Mogul Empire, 243 

" Mohmand." 96 ; territory, 71, 72, 

100, 103 
Mohmands, the, 74 
Mohpani, 326 
Mohwa, the, 221 
Momein, 178 
Mona's River, 146 
Mongolia, 76 
Mongols, the, 26, 97 
Mons, the, 185 
Monsoon, the, 348 
Montgomerie, Col. T. G., 129 
Monze, Cape, 353 
" Mor," Mountain, 295 
Morontobara, 353 
Mortakka, 153 
Mugs, the, 175 
Muhammad Kasim, 16, 48, 54, 

Muhammadan advance into India, 

Muhammadani desert, 36 
Muhammadans, the, 211 
Mulla Pass, 49 
Mullah, the, 51 
Mulmain, 175 

Multan, 50, 79, 141, 292, 293 
Murdar Peak, 40 
Murghab River, 60, 62, 67 
Murray's Guide-book to Ceylon, 

189 ; Handbook to India, 309 
Murree, 108, 126, 128 ; hills, 295 
Mussoorie, 127, 321 
Mussulman Dynasties, establish- 
ment of, 18 
Mustagh, 104 ; range, 105 
Mustard, 256 
Muttra, 147 

Muztagh Ata Mountain, 64 
Myinge River, 179, 180 
Myitkyhana, 178, 317 
Mysore, 131, 166, 222, 245, 249 ; 

gold mines of, 338 ; uplands of, 


Nadir Shah, 28, 50 

Nagapatnam, 164 

Nagas, 172, 223 

Nagpur, 155, 306 

Naini Tal, 122, 127 

Nandadevi Peaks, 119, 122 

Nandgaon, 306 

Nanga Parbat, 105, 107, 11 1 

Naoshera, 295 

Naoshirwdnis, 54 

Nara River, 138 



Narbada River, u, 131, 132, 144, 

Narbada-Tapti Basin, 154 
Nari River, 38, 50 
Nasratabad, 57 
Native States, area of, 232 
Nearkhos, 14, 46, 352 
Negrais, Cape, 173, 181 
Nellore, 278 

Nepal, 119, 121, 143, 210 
New Chaman, 31, 32 
Nicobar Islands, 6, 222 
Nicolas Range, 69 
Nile River, 14 
Nilgiri Mountains, 131, 132 
Nilgiris, the, 108, 168, 202 
Nimrod, 63 
Ningrahar, 75 
Nipal, 25, 196 
N'Maika River, 177 
N'Malika River, 178 
North-Western Railway System, 

Nushki, 34 
Nuwa>a Elia, 193, 194 

Oldham, R. D., 9, 23, 129, 169 

Ootacamund Peak, 194 

"Ooty," 194 

Opium, 148, 152, 256, 264 

Orakzai Hills, 77 

Orakzais, the, 76 

Orissa, 156, 325 

Ormara, Headland of, 45 

Oudh, 142, 229 ; and Rohilkand 

railway, 298 
Oxus River, 17, 59, 60, 61, 65, 92 ; 

basin of, 62 ; source of, 67, 68 

Pagan, 180, 187 

Paghmdn Mountains, 27 

Paian Gh<lt, 162 

Palanpur, 316 

Palimbothra, 14 

Palms, 164 

Pambam, 192 

Pamir Boundary Commission, 101 

Pamirs, the, 5, 61, 64, 92, 106, 117 

Pangong Lake, 113, 119 

Paniput, 298 

Panjdeh, 279 

Panjgur Valley, 47 

Panjkora River, 104 

Panjshir Valley, 84, 94 

Panjun, 313 

Panna, 340 

Parsis, the, 48, 223, 224 

Pasni, Headland of, 45 

Pathan borderland, 244 

Pathans, the, 33, 36, 51, 72, 79, 

Patiala, 123, 246, 249 

Patna, 143, 151 

Pedrotalagalla, Peak of, 193 

Pegu, 171, 181, 185; -Mandalay 
Railway, 182 

Peiwar Kotal, 71, 76; Pass, 77, 78 

Pekin, 113 

Persia, 17, 20, 48, 214; Gulf, 17; 
highland of, 53 

Persians, the, 26; Perso-Baluch 
Boundary Commission, 47 

Peshawur, 73, 76, 79, 141, 243, 293, 
2 95j 3°4 5 plains, 105 ; valley, 
2 7> 99? 359 5 mediaeval routes 
from to, Kabul, 71 

Peshin, 35, 37, 50, 72, 250; river, 
40; valley, 38, 83; -Sind Rail- 
way, 287, 289 

Petroleum, 180, 323 

Pezwdn Pass, 75 

Phayre, Sir Arthur, 185 

Pind, Dadun Khan, 141 

Pioneer, The, 280, 343 

Pir Panjdl Mountains, 107 

Pirghal Hills, 81 

Pliocene period, 10 

Pollonarua, 187, 196 

Polo, Marco, 189 

Pondicherri, 164 

Poona, 168, 307, 311 

Population, density of, 230 

Pori, 156 

Portuguese power, decline of, 22 ; 
the, 21, 27 

Pottery, 278 

Povindahs, the, 80, 278 

Prayag, 150 

Precious stones, 319 

Prome, 180, 181 

Ptolemy, 16, 52 ; Philadelphus, 17 

Pulse, 152 

Punakha, 120 

Punjab, the, 6, 25, 79, 230; Army 
Corps, 245 ; climate of, 347 ; 
canal development, 262 ; extent 
of, 140; native states of, 249; 
plains of, 2; rivers of, 135, 140; 
Salt range of, 330, 331 ; Trans- 
Indus provinces of, 99; wheat 
production of, 256 

Purali River, 36 ; delta, 43 



Puran River, 138 
Pushtu, 28 

Quetta, 30, 31, 32, 34, 37, 38, 40, 
41, 42, 43, 49, 50, 91, 244, 250, 
2 9°j345 5 mountains, 40; -Chaman 
railway, 94 ; Kandahar railway, 

"Rabi,"2 57 

Raichur, 307 

Railways, 281 ; gross earnings of, 
284 ; in use and under construc- 
tion, 284; Great Indian Penin- 
sular, 153; North-West Frontier, 
291, 298 

Rainfall, 349, 35°>.35i 

Rajmahal, 325 ; hills, 8, 10 

Rajmahendri, 160 

Rajpur, 127 ; principalities, 123, 
124, 248 

Rajputana, 132, 139, 205, 219. 245, 
305 ; glaciers of, 8 ; plains of, 7 ; 
railway system, 305, 306 

Rajputs, the, 203, 204 ; the Chan- 
ham, 293 

Rakapushi Mount, 65, 105 

Rakshdn River, 29, 31 

Ram Das, 210 

Ramayana, Epic of, 12, 201 

Rameseram, 192 

Ramri, 175 

Rangoon, 180, 187 ; channel of, 

Ranigage Coalfields, 326, 333 

Raniket, 128 

Ranjit Singh, 102, 249 

Rann of Kach, 138, 142 

Ravi River, 102, 136, 294, 337 

Rawal Pindi, 128, 137, 141, 293, 

Red Sea, 17 

Revenue, 255 

Rewah, 153, 249 

Rice, 149, 161, 164, 186, 257, 258, 

Rinds, the, 33, 53, 54 

River systems, 132 

Robertson, Sir G., 101 

Roh, 72, 76, 79, 100 

Rohilkand and Oudh railway, 298 

Rohillas, the, 72 

Rohri, 291, 292 

Rome, 17 


Royal Geographical Society, 169 

Rubies, 339, 341 

Ruk, 287 

Rumpa Hills, 160 

Rupee, depreciation of, 270 

Ruskin, John, 82 

Russia, geographical relations with, 
64 ; position north of Afghani- 
stan, 63 ; Russo- Afghan Boun- 
dary Commission, 17, 86, 101 

Sad Istragh Peak, 65 

Safed Koh Range, 71, 72, 74, jj, 

g 2, 33° 
Sagain, 180 

Sagar-Sind Railway, 293 
Sagyin Hills, 341 
Saharanpur, 127 
Sakki Sarwar, 50 
Salem, 280, 332 

Salt, 327, 328 ; range, 141 ; coal- 
fields of, 326 
Saltpetre, 324, 334 
Salwin River, 173, 175, 176, 178, 

182, 183 
Samdna Range, yy 
Sambhar Salt Lake, 328 
Sambulpur, 338 
Sanchi, 15 
Sandal-wood, 165 
Sandeman Fort, 5 1, 83 ; Sir Robert, 

Sandstorms, 356 
Sanghamitta, Princess, 196 
Santals, the, 202 
Sapphires, 341 
Saracens, the, 20 
Sarhad, 30 

Sarikol, 104 ; mountains, 64, 65 
Satpura Mountains, 131, 155, 167 
Saverna Bhumi, 185 
Scott, J. G., 185, 186, 188, 189, 

Seistan, 29, 31, 36, 43, 57, 250, 317 
Seleukos Nikator, 14 
Semitic trade, 17 
Seringapatam, 162, 249 
Seychelles, the, 348 
Shahdara, 294 
Shaidar Hills, 81 
Shan States, 173, 174, 180, 182, 

183; climate of, 184; Shans, 

the, 185 
Sharigh, 323 
Shawal Valley, 81 
Sheranis, the, 36 
Sherranid, 80 



Shillong, 171 ; rainfall at, 351 

Shin-ta, 2 

Shiva, 207 

Shorarud, 35 

Shutargardan Pass, 78, 79 

Shwe Doung, 342 

Siam, 173 

Sibi, 314 

Siguri, 196 

Sikandarabad, 311 

Sikh religion, 210 ; states, 123 

Sikhs, the, 25, 210, 243, 266 

Sikkim, 8, 120, 121 ; passes, 113 

Silchar, 317 

Silk trade, 17 

Silver, 324 ; imports of, 269 ; work, 

Simla, 10, 114, 125, 140, 238, 246 
Sind, 6, 18, 32, 33, 54, 79, 142, 243 ; 

frontier of, 32 ; irrigation in, 262 ; 

plains of, 2 ; river, 135 ; -Peshin 

railway, 31, 38, 50, 287, 289; 

-Sagan Railway, 293 
Sindhavas, 2 
Sindhus, 2 

Sing, Sir Pratab, 109 
Singarini Colliery, 325 
Singbhum, 338 
Singhalese, the, 198 
Singphos, the, 172, 185 
" Sirkar," the, 238, 248 
Sispdra Peaks, 131, 169 
Sittang River, 173; valley, 181 
Siwalik Range, 10, 117, 321 
Skyths, the, 26, 204 
Smallpox, goddess of, 219 
Smith, Sir W., 23 
Sobraon, 136 
Solar Race, 201 
Solomon, 319 
Son River, 132, 151, 262, 325 ; 

valley, 153 
Sonmidni, 42, 48 ; Bay, 46, 353 
Sopur, 109 

Srinagar, 102, 107, 108, 109, 128 
Ssuch'uen, 189 
Stedman, Fort, 184 
Strabo, 3 
Strachey, Sir John, 122, 129, 130, 

147, 149, 169, 205, 207, 208, 

212, 225, 236, 237, 247, 248, 

254, 265 
Subansiri River, 171 
Suez Canal, 17 
Sugar, 164 ; cane, 152, 258 
Sukkur, 137, 291, 314, 316 

Sulimdni Mountains, 33, 36, 50, 51, 

72, 83, 293 
Sumatra, 6 
Sundarbans, the, 149 
Surma River, 170, 171 
Sutlej River, in, 113, 119, 134, 

: 36, 139, 292 ; source of, 118 
Sven Hedin, 15, 64 
Swami work, 276 
Swat, 71, 75, 96, 99, 100, 103, 243 ; 

river, 104, 133 
Sylhet, 172 

Tagdumbash Pamir, 65 
Tagoun, 187 

Taimani Hills, 87 ; plateau, 93 
Tajaks, the, 27, 56, 95, 96 
Takatu Peak, 40 
Takht-i-Suliman Mountains,37,32 1 ; 

shrine of, 212 
Talaings, the, 185 
Tal-Chotiali, 35 
Talifu, 178 
Tamils, the, 198, 214 
Tangir, 103 
Tanjore, 164, 280 
Tanner, Col. H. B., 129 
Tapti River, 11, 132, 156; -Narbada 

basin, 154 
Tarai, 117, 121 ; jungles, 358 
Taraki, 57 
Tartars, the, 26 
Tartary, 76 
Tash Kuduk, 61 
Tate, G. P., 55 
Taurus, the, 64 
Tavay River, 339 
Tavernier, 341 
Tavoy, 184 
Tea, 171, 259 
Teak, 165 
Teesta River, 146 
Telegu Race, 214 
Telingas, the, 185 
Tenasserim, 173, 174, 175 ; climate 

of, 175 5 gold in, 339; mineral 

wealth of, 175 
Thahtun, 185, 187 
Thian-Shan, the, 5 
Thibau, Emperor, 175 
Thornton, T. H., 55 
Thuparama, 197 
Thyetmyo, 180 
Tibet, 5, 119, 176; gold mines of, 

113 ; plateau of, 9, no, 112, 117 ; 

steppes of, 117 



Tidal action, 352 

"Tika," the, 220 

Tikak Mine, 326 

Tipperah, 172 

Tippu Sultan, 222, 249 

Tirach Mir Peak, 65, 106 

Tirah, 72 

Tirband-i-Turkestan, 61 

Tiz, 48 

Tobacco, 161, 164, 256 

Tochi River, 71, 72, 79, 81, 133; 
valley, 79, 80 

Todas, the, 216 

Tongabudra River, 161 

Tonkin, 176 

Toondla, 301 

Trade expansion, 272 

Tragbal Pass, 107 

Trans- Himalayan districts, com- 
paratively dry atmosphere of, 
120 ; -Indus inland basins, 34 

Travancore, 131, 245, 249 

Trichinopoli, 162, 164 

Trincomali, 192, 196 

Trisul, 122 

Tsan-Pu River, 112, 170 

Turanian demonology, 108 ; 
peoples, movements of, 15 ; 
sovereignty, establishment of, 15 

Turanians, the, 202 

Turbat, 48 

Turis, the, 76 

Turkestan, 56; Afghan, 61 ; Chinese, 

Turkey, Sultan of, 96 

Turkomans, the, 97 

Turks, the, 17, 20, 21, 26 

Turner, J. M. W., 169 

Udaipur, 205, 206, 246, 249, 305, 

338 ; Maharana of, 220 
Ujain, 305 

Umaria Colliery, 326 
Umballa, 298 
Usbegs, the, 56, 97 
Utakamand, 168 
Uthal, 48 

Vasco da Gama, 21, 26 
Vedda Aborigines, 198 
Vedic Tribes, 1 5 

Venetians, the, 21 

Venice, 21 

Victoria Lake, 60, 64, 67, 68 

Vihowa River, 100 

Vijayanagar, Hindu Rajah of, 22 

Vindhya Mountains, 6, 131, 132, 155 

Vindhyan system of red sandstone 

deposits, 7 
Vishnu, 207 
Vizagapatam, 278 
Vizianagram, 157 

Wadi, 307 

Wainad Hills, 168 

Wainganga River, 157 

Wakhan, 67 ; river, 69 

Wana Plains, 81 

Wandan River, 139 

Wardah River, 156 

Warora, 326 

Wathar, 311 

Waziris, the, 72, 79, 80 

Waziristan, 71, 82 ; mountains, 

81, 82 
Weaving manufactures, 277 
West of India, Portuguese railway, 

Wheat, 152, 256, 258 
Wild animals, loss of life from, 267 
Woodthorpe, General, 183, 199 
Wulur Lake, 108, 109 
Wynaad Gold Mines, 337 

Xavier, St. Francis, 312 
Xerxes, 99 

Yang-tse-Kiang River, 176, 178 

Yarkand, Forsyth Mission to, 101 

Yate, Captain, 186, 199 

Yellow River, 176 

Yule, Sir H., 23 

Yunnan, 178, 183 

" Yusufzai," 96 

ZamindAwar, 94 

Zaskar Chain, in 

Zermatt, 122 

Zhob River, 40; valley, 38, 51, 316 

Ziarat, 83 

Zoroastrian fire worshippers, 224 

Zulfikar, 59 

Printed by Ballantyne, Hanson &* Co. 
Edinburgh 6^ London 






Holdich, (Sir) Thomas